combine culture with science and technology at 3rd Diné Cultural
Science, Math and Technology Fair
ROCK - Watch out world, a future Albert Einstein or Rachel Carson
could be among the students who participated in the third annual
Diné Cultural Science, Math and Technology Fair March 31
and April 1 at the Navajo Education Center.
Manuelito, a Thoreau Middle School seventh grader, entitled her
project "Diné Beiazee." It focused on traditional
versus modern medicine.
questioned if using traditional medicine would help cure minor aches
and save a person a visit to the hospital.
just wondered if there is any plants you can just use to help your
stomach and headaches," Manuelito said.
poster had both English and Navajo names for juniper (Gad), blue
grama (Tl'oh nástasí) and sagebrush (Ts'ah). She asked
her great-grandmother for help in locating the plants.
Beauford, winner in environmental science, focused on graffiti's
effect on humans. He displayed pictures of graffiti and analyzed
its impact on a person's feeling.
student at Red Rock Day School in Red Valley, Ariz., this was his
second science fair and he is thinking about a career in archaeology.
grader Wanda Weaver from Tsé Bit'Aí Middle School
in Shiprock compared Greek and Navajo constellations. The project
helped her learn about Navajo culture and astronomy.
with displaying star maps, Weaver talked about different stories
inspired by the constellations. She told the story of Ursa Minor
(Little Dipper). In Greek mythology, sailors thought of it as the
direction leading them home. Navajos believe it is the "starter
of life" and represents the four directions.
asked her grandparents and their friends for help with the Navajo
schools participated in the fair sponsored by the Navajo Nation
Rural Systematic Initiative and Office of Diné Youth. Kindergarten
through fifth grade competed March 31 and sixth grade to 12th grade
competed April 1.
were placed into categories such as botany, chemistry and microbiology.
Students were judged on their use of the scientific method, visual
display, oral presentation and cultural aspect.
students involved with science and technology and applying the field
to culture was the emphasis of the fair, said Marilynn King-Johnson,
department director for the Office of Diné Youth and Office
of Youth Opportunity.
number one question they (children) ask is 'Why?'" King-Johnson
said. The fair gave students the opportunity to answer their questions
through research and experimentation.
see this growing even more," said Paulina Watchman, from the
Navajo Nation Rural Systematic Initiative.
was excited students combined culture with their projects. "All
native cultures extend from science," she said.
Willie and Sue House, teachers from Thoreau Middle School, encouraged
their students to choose topics that dealt with culture.
was happy some students asked their grandparents for help with the
16 of their students participating, the teachers thought the event
was a positive way for students to become interested in science.
through third place were awarded ribbons and medallions. Sponsors
are looking forward to next year's fair.