Mexico's Day of the Dead

Grade Levels: 3 - 8

Overview

By studying the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday, students gain an understanding that various cultures have differing views of life and death.

Objectives

  • Students will discuss how death is associated in our culture.
  • Students will compare and contrast U.S. attitudes toward death with those of Mexico.
  • Students will find the main idea of a paragraph.

Materials

Procedure

  1. Review the following vocabulary words: festivity, mourning, cultural differences.

  2. Ask students to take a few minutes to write down what comes to their minds when they think of "death." Ask them to consider various rituals surrounding death and dying, such as funerals. Call on volunteers to share their ideas and write responses on the board. The ethnic diversity of your class may affect the range of answers you receive.

  3. Ask if anyone has heard of the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico. Briefly tell the students that Mexicans have a different approach to death than do many Americans. Give students a copy of our Day of the Dead fact sheet.

  4. Have a student read the title and the first paragraph of this page aloud. Call on someone else to explain what the main idea is in that paragraph. Remind students that the main idea of a paragraph is usually introduced in the first sentence. Have students read the next three paragraphs independently and identify the main idea for each.

  5. After students have finished reading the article and viewing the photo, invite them to share some newfound information about the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. Place these ideas and thoughts on the board.

  6. Direct students to write an essay comparing and contrasting their own view of death with that portrayed in the article. If they write more than one paragraph, remind them to use main ideas for each paragraph.

Assessment

Extensions

  • Have students read books about the Day of the Dead and give book talks. Here are some titles to consider: Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead, by George Ancona; Barrilete: A Kite for the Day of the Dead, by Elisa Amado and Joya Hairs; and Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American Celebration, by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and Lawrence Migdale.
  • Have students research All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of teacher-approved worksheets, activities, and over 22,000 resources created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus

Highlights

Memorial Day
Find a way to honor the American men and women who have sacrificed their lives in wars and military disputes this Memorial Day (May 30). Some of our most popular activities include: World War II Student Project, Chronology of Conscription in the U.S., and American Flag, Memorial Day Videos, and "In Flanders Fields" -- History and Poetry!

May Calendar of Events
May is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Transportation Week (May 15-21), Museum Day (5/18), and Memorial Day (5/30). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Get Caught Reading Month, Inventors Month, National Family Month (May 8 - June 19), Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!

Videos
Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and the environment. Enjoy!

Coding & Computer Science
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, and Hour of Code resources make a great introduction to the computer science skills all students will benefit from.