Day of the Dead

Lesson plan overview

In this FREE A2-B1 ESL lesson plan, students will learn about the Day of the Dead (Día de los muertos), a celebration widely observed in Mexico. The worksheet features a range of vocabulary activities, 2 short videos, and plenty of conversation questions. Other worksheets dedicated to autumn celebrations are “Halloween” and “Thanksgiving”.

Speaking: The lesson starts with a couple of conversation questions about the Day of the Dead. Next, students complete a quiz to check what they already know about the Day of the Dead, and to introduce some important vocabulary for the lesson.

Vocabulary: Students take a look at photos of things related to the Day of the Dead (e.g. marigolds, candles, an altar, sugar skulls, offerings, cemetery, tomb) and match the words to the correct photo. Then they complete 3 sentences related to the Day of the Dead with the correct word. 

Video 1: Next, they watch the first video in this lesson, called “Día de los muertos: How to build an altar”, and complete the transcript with the missing words. 

Vocabulary: Then, they are given 5 definitions and are tasked with finding the correct words in the transcript (e.g. deceased, departed, loved ones, to honor, relatives, soul). Following that, then march 4 words to their synonyms (to die – to pass away, to come together – to gather, to honor – to pay tribute, to decorate – to adorn). To practice the words they’ve just learned, students are given a short text. They need to substitute parts of the text with a suitable word. 

Video 2: The vocabulary activities serve as a preparation for the second video, which is more difficult than the first one. It is called “What is the Day of the Dead”. Students watch the video and decide if 6 statements are true or false.

Speaking: After watching the video, students engage in a post-listening discussion about the Day of the Dead and how the deceased are commemorated in their own culture.

Vocabulary: Finally, students work on 2 vocabulary revision activities: a word formation activity and an activity where they need to write a suitable verb from the lesson.

You can use the conversation cards to review the vocabulary from this lesson and as an additional speaking practice.

Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

They would offer fruits, they would offer vegetables, they would offer gifts to those who have passed on. They would bury them and in the Aztec Empire it was really common to really respect the dead for everything that they’ve done for us in the past life.
Near the 1500s, Spanish colonizers came into Mexico and conquered the Aztec Empire and they brought a lot of the Catholic views into Mexico…

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

Additional resources

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