Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic  Day of the Dead, and supports the standard of analyzing central themes and supporting details presented visually and orally. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • What have you heard about Day of the Dead?
  • Where do you think this holiday comes from? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Around the World,” “Famous Faces,” or “In Depth.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a commercial for a Day of the Dead celebration. Include a brief  history of the holiday, and describe the activities that will be happening at the celebration.  
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying Day of the Dead traditions. Provide a brief description of each. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a flag for a Day of the Dead celebration. 

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about Day of the Dead. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • How did the arrival of the Spanish change Day of the Dead traditions? 
  • What central themes does Day of the Dead have in common with holidays and beliefs from other cultures?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Day of the Dead Challenge.

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Dive deeper into Aztec history and culture with BrainPOP’s Aztec Civilization topic. 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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