Rainbow in a Rug

Rainbow in a Rug lesson plan

How do the Navajo weave such beautiful rugs? Create your own replica Navajo weaving with Crayola® Rainbow Twistables™.

  • 1.

    Navajo (Dine) weavers are highly skilled artisans. They have been weaving wool for about 150 years. Weaving a 3- by 5-foot (.9 m x 1.5 m) rug can take up to 350 hours after the wool yarn is prepared. It takes even longer if plant dyes are used to dye the wool.

  • 2.

    Read The Goat in the Rug or a similar book that describes the Navajo weaving process. Discuss with your classmates the steps, tools, and skills involved in weaving a Navajo rug.

  • 3.

    Navajo rugs and blankets come in many different designs. They often use geometric patterns and themes from nature. Some pattern names are Tree of Life, Crystal Rug, Teec Nos Pos, and Yei and Yeibachai. With your classmates, research these and other styles. Decide on an authentic Navajo rug design you would like to draw.

  • 4.

    On white paper, use Crayola Rainbow Twistables to design your Navajo rug. Just twist out the colors! Recreate the shapes and sizes of each part of the design.

  • 5.

    Display your Rainbow Rugs with other artifacts and information about Navajo culture and history.


  • LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
  • SCI: Investigate the motion of objects to determine observable and measurable patterns to predict future motions.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.
  • SS: Demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time such as past, present, future, and long ago; read and construct simple timelines; identify examples of change; and recognize examples of cause and effect relationships.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.


  • Possible classroom resources include: A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson; National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! by J. Patrick Lewis; Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes edited by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad
  • Students work in small groups to investigate the process that the Navajo used to prepare wool for weaving. Compare and contrast that process with how wood is prepared today for rug making. Organize research findings into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.
  • Invite a local weaver to visit with the class, sharing tools, materials, and techniques used in weaving. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for the guest. After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.
  • Students work in teams of two or small groups to investigate other Native American weaving techniques and designs. Organize research into an oral presentation and have pictures of original designs to share with classmates. Use the processes from this lesson plan to prepare an authentic model for classmates to use in comparing these techniques with those of the Navajo Indians.
  • Students invent an original weaving design or blend multiple designs from several tribes into an original rug design. Use Crayola Rainbow Twistables to create this design.