Cinco De Mayo Lesson Plans

Cinco de Mayo lesson plans allow teachers to discuss the history of this holiday, and engage students in a wide variety of activities.

By Kacie Archer

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Cinco de Mayo lessons

Cinco de Mayo, which means the fifth of May in Spanish, is a national holiday in Mexico. The holiday is not only celebrated in Mexico, but is also celebrated all across the United States. Teachers can use this holiday to introduce Mexican history and culture to their students. They can start by talking about the reason the holiday is celebrated, and move on to other activities, such as writing, reading, and art.

First of all, teachers can cover the true history of the national holiday. Often Cinco de Mayo is confused with Mexican Independence Day, which took place on September 16, 1810.  Cinco de Mayo actually represents the victory of Mexico over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  This battle was the victory that spurred on the fight for Mexican independence. In this battle a small force of about 4,500 soldiers defeated the French army, even though it was made up of about 8,000 professional, well-trained soldiers.

After teachers have covered the history of Cinco de Mayo, and have given students an understanding of the celebration, then it is time to move on to activities that both teachers and students can enjoy. One activity is for students to find Mexican recipes on the Internet or elsewhere, and make a list of their favorites. After they have found the recipes, they could try one of them, either at home or in the classroom.

Another activity would be to have students record information about Mexican culture on note cards. On one side of the card students could draw a picture. For example, they could draw a picture of the Mexican flag. On the other side, students could write a description of their picture and what it represents. For more Cinco de Mayo lesson plans see below.

Cinco de Mayo Lesson Plans:

Mexican Holidays 

This lesson has students research a Mexican holiday and write a paper discussing specific topics that they have researched. It gives students specific questions to help guide them through the process. The lesson has various links throughout to help students research different aspects of Mexican culture.

Contemporary Mexican and Puerto Rican Immigration

This is an extensive lesson plan that allows students to complete a variety of assignments pertaining to immigration. The lesson consists of nine different lessons that require students to develop a questionnaire, write a five-paragraph essay, present a three-minute report, prepare Spanish foods, and sing Spanish songs. 

 Cinco de Mayo

In this lesson students learn the history of Cinco de Mayo by completing specific assignments. This lesson lists websites teachers can use to link students to word search worksheets and information to help them create their own work. This lesson is unique because it provides challenging assignments for enrichment students as well.

 A Gallery of Mexican Art

This lesson allows students to learn about the history and culture of Mexico by researching Mexican art. Then students use their creative abilities to create their own piñata and star piñata.


Middle School Writing Guide

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Kacie Archer