Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- outline the history of Day of the Dead
- describe the traditions, beliefs, and customs of Day of the Dead
- compare and contrast personal holiday traditions to Day of the Dead
- 1 hour for core lesson
- Time for additional activity
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
- Copies of the lesson Day of the Dead Lesson for Kids, one for each student
- Paint brushes
- Water for clean up
- Día de los Muertos
- C alaveras de azúcar
- O frendas
Warm-Up and Preparation
- Ask students to think about one holiday that is particularly special in their family and have them write it down in their notebooks. Model on the board with your own special holiday.
- Now ask students:
- What kind of things does your family do on this holiday?
- During what time of year does your holiday fall?
- What special food, game, or tradition do you celebrate with your family on this holiday?
- Is there a special way you and your family dress or decorate for the holiday? What is it?
- If time allows, have students sketch images to show how their family or community celebrates special holidays.
- When they are finished, break students into small groups and have them share their work, discussing similarities and differences and prompting one another with questions and comments. Model by sharing about your own personal experiences.
- Now tell students they will be learning about a special celebration called Day of the Dead and give them a few minutes to share prior knowledge or experiences if applicable.
- Distribute copies of the lesson Day of the Dead Lesson for Kids and read the first section 'Día de los Muertos' together.
- Why are painted wooden skulls used to celebrate Day of the Dead?
- Why aren't these skulls meant to be scary?
- Now read 'Beliefs' and 'Current Customs' with students.
- Have students make a Venn diagram in their notebooks and label 'My Holiday' and 'Day of the Dead.'
- Instruct students to compare and contrast how they celebrate their family's holiday to Day of the Dead.
- When finished, have students share in small groups, then compare generally as a whole class. What is the same? What is different?
- Read the 'Lesson Summary' together and take the quiz as a whole group.
- Give each student a bit of clay and time to mold into a skull. They can do this by rolling into a ball and using their fingers to make facial features.
- Set clay aside to dry completely. In the meantime, have students write a paragraph summary of the Day of the Dead celebration.
- When clay is dry, have students use paint to decorate their skulls.
- Display skulls and summaries together on a table titled 'Day of the Dead.' Invite students from other classes, faculty, and/or families to visit and read.
Extension Activities and Ideas
- Host a Day of the Dead celebration in your classroom. Invite families to participate and have stations for food, crafts, and music/dancing.
- Do some cross-curricular math and cooking projects, such as baking pan de muerto or sugar skulls.
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