Lesson Plan:

Día de los Muertos: Traditions in History

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September 24, 2015
by Elizabeth S. Tyree

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to compare and contrast various cultures' Day of the Dead celebrations. Students will be able to discuss and compare artwork styles.


Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Tell the students that today they will be learning about how different cultures celebrate their dead, specifically focusing on the Día de los Muertos.
  • Activate any prior knowledge by asking students questions. Great example questions include: Can anyone think of a feast of the dead that is popular in current times? Can any of you tell us a little about the Día de los Muertos?
  • Create a KWL Chart on the board.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Pass out the Days of the Dead Around the World worksheet.
  • Read the first paragraph together as a class.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (20 minutes)

  • Discuss the review question and a few possibilities and justifications for answers.
  • Give students a few minutes to write their personal answers on the worksheet.

Independent Working Time (30 minutes)

  • Pass out Día de los Muertos: A Catholic and Aztec Tradition and Aztec Art & Día de los Muertos.
  • Give students a set amount of time to work on these while you monitor.



  • Enrichment: Advanced students may be allowed to research these death feasts more deeply by using library or internet resources. Advanced students may focus on one specific area of a death feast, such as a dance or traditional table setting, and present that to the class.
  • Support: Students in need of support may work in small groups, mixed with on level or advanced students for immediate peer tutoring. Students in need of support may be called to work one-on-one or in a small group with the teacher. Students in need of support may find that watching an informational video about the feasts of the dead help them to understand the concept more fully.

Related Books and/or Media


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Collect student worksheets to assign a grade.

Review and Closing (5 minutes)

  • Ask students thought provoking review questions. Examples of such questions include: What was the most interesting thing you learned today? Why did that grab your attention? Did you learn anything about your heritage in these paragraphs? Does your family or culture have a tradition like this? What is it?
  • Suggest to students that they could ask their families about their heritage and cultural traditions. Do they come from a culture that performs feasts like those in the worksheets?

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