William Allred, Carrie Robledo
Material Type:
High School
3D Print, Alebrije, Awareness, Calavera, Culture, Día De Los Muertos, Global, Halloween, Ofrenda, Printer, STEAM, Spanish, Stem, Technology
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Education Standards

9-12 Spanish: Walking Dead

9-12 Spanish:  Walking Dead


Students will discover a cultural tradition of many Spanish speaking countries, compare it to cultural conventions in the United States, and create a tangible, memorable product to commemorate the learning and growth. 

Instructor Directions

Engineering Design Process

Project Description

Name of ProjectSpanish: Walking Dead
Subject AreaSpanish
Targeted StandardsNL.CLL.4.2, NL.COD.4.1NM.CLL.4.1, NM.COD.4.2NH.CMT.4.1IL.CLL.4.1
Driving Question / Problem / ActivatorHow does Dia de los Muertos compare to Halloween? What are the cultural symbols used in this celebration?
Project SummaryStudents will discover a cultural tradition of many Spanish speaking countries, compare it to cultural conventions in the United States, and create a tangible, memorable product to commemorate the learning and growth.
Estimated Time5-6 class days
Materials / Resources (including link to slideshow if available)Ipad, Apple TV, Apple PenReadingIQ and/or Epic! App (free) (Recommended: ReadingIQ has “Dia de los Muertos” by Roseanna Greenfield Thong)Tissue paper of all colors, 2 sheets per studentScissorsTeacher Presentation about Día de los Muertos and AlebrijesClips from Coco (2017) (Spanish/English versions available on Netflix)Student Computers (CHARGED)TinkerCad (free)3D printerPrinting PlasticConstruction paperMarkersStaplerTapeGlue* If also painting final product:AcetoneSandpaperPrimer paintPaper towelsCraft paint Paintbrushes** Optional: Magazines that can be cut up ***Some may opt out for religious reasons. Have an alternate assignment prepared.****For the ofrenda part, students will need to bring a shoebox, pictures of a deceased person they want to honor, and favorite items to add to the ofrenda to represent the muerto.  
Tagsspanish, culture, global, awareness, halloween, día de los muertos, technology, STEAM, STEM, 3D Print, printer, alebrije, calavera, ofrenda

Project Outline 

AskWhat is Día de los Muertos and how is it different from Halloween? What are the various cultural artifacts and what does each represent?
ImagineWhat your design might look like? Will it be intricate or simple? What animals will your design represent?
PlanResearch Alebrijes (or Calaveras, Mariposas, Caléndulas, Altares) for inspiration. Sketch an idea for your design.
CreateUse Tinkercad to create your design. (Teacher compiles all designs for mass printing.)
ImproveHave a partner and your teacher look over your completed design. Listen to their feedback and make changes as you see fit. Sand and clean your printed product for painting.
Closure / Student ReflectionsWould you do the same design again, or choose a different one? What else could you 3D print? How can you apply what you’ve learned in everyday life?
Possible Modifications / Extensions
  1. Students write in the target language about their creation, personifying and describing it.
  2. Hold an exhibition for other classes/students to attend.
  3. Have students present their creation and it’s description to small groups of other students.
  4. Those who finish before others can create another product such as a keychain or flag.
  5. Include face painting and Color by (Spanish) Numbers!

Evaluation (Pre/Post)  

Pretest Link: 

Post-test Link: 

Additional Resources / Help for teaching this lesson

3D Printing for the beginner

Teacher Presentation

Suggested Timeline

Danza de los Viejitos  explained: 0:53-2:35

Danza de los Viejitos  up close masks/dancing: 1:10-3:45

Danza de los Tecuanes

Useful clips from the movie Coco (2017):

  • Altar
  • 0:50-0:57
  • 2:56-3:04
  • Papel Picado: 1:04-2:52
  • Xoloitzcuintli & Alebrijes:

Useful clips from the movie The Book of Life (2014):

Reading/Printable: Spanish English

Teacher Comments of what worked / did not work well

Creative Commons