|
 

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.

Highlights

Teaching Racism & Discrimination in America
The issues of racism, prejudice, and discrimination have plagued the United States since it was founded, and racially motivated killings still occur with frequency today. Help your students understand the historical contexts of racism—with references on slavery, immigration, and the civil rights movement—to frame your conversation on modern instances of prejudice.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

July Calendar of Events
July is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: World War I Began (7/28/1914) and Author J.K. Rowling's Birthday (7/31/1965). Plus, celebrate Read an Almanac Month and Recreation and Parks Month all July 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: Independence Day, slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, and the environment. Enjoy!

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial