K6-3 Pan de los Muertos

Published July 26, 2016 | Updated December 5, 2016
Place of Learning: Kitchen
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 6
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

In this sixth grade humanities lesson, students prepare Pan de los Muertos and practice measuring precisely.


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify measuring tools from the ESY Toolbox
  • Recognize the need for precision when baking

During this lesson, students will:

  • Select the correct measuring tools
  • Follow the recipe to completion

For the Chef Meeting

Ingredients for the Pan de los Muertos

  • Flour
  • Amaranth flour
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter


  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Wooden spoons
  • Measuring beaker
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Zester


  • Oven

For the Day of the Dead Altar

  • Table
  • Tablecloth
  • Construction paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Graphite pencils or pens
Before You Begin

Timeline Overview

Total Duration: 90 minutes

  1. Invitation* (5 minutes)
  2. Concept Invention* (5 minutes)
  3. Application* (60 minutes)
  4. Reflection* (20 minutes)

At the Chef Meeting

1. Invitation*: (5 minutes)

  1. Welcome students and introduce Pan de los Muertos as a sweet bread traditionally made on or around Day of the Dead.
  2. Invite students to share what they know about the holiday.

2. Concept Invention*: (5 minutes)

Students learn about the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead and baking bread.

  1. Explain that they will be participating in a Day of the Dead tradition by making Pan de los Muertos to honor somebody who has passed away.
  2. Introduce the amaranth flour and remind students that they harvested, threshed, and winnowed amaranth in the garden. 
  3. Explain to students that when baking, precision is important.
  4. Tell students that they will be shaping their bread in a way that honors or symbolizes the person they are remembering. 
    • While the bread is baking, students will have an opportunity to write a remembrance for that person and place it on Day of the Dead altar.
  5. Ask students to wash their hands and join their table group.

At the Table 

Students make and bake bread, write a remembrance, then eat and discuss their Pan de los Muertos.

3. Application*: (60 minutes)

  1. Meet with the table groups to review the recipe, check-in, and assign jobs.
  2. Review measuring tools and explain how to measure precisely:
    • Measuring beaker
    • Measuring cups
    • Measuring spoons
  3. Review the different measuring increments and explain how to measure precisely:
    • Tablespoon
    • Teaspoon
    • ½ teaspoon
  4. Prepare the recipe.
  5. Demonstrate how to knead bread dough.
  6. Set the table.
  7. While the bread is baking, invite students to write a remembrance and then place it on the altar.
  8. Eat
    • While the students are eating, invite them to share whom they made the bread for, what shape they chose, and why.
  9. Clean up.

At the Closing Circle 

4. Reflection*: (20 minutes)

  1. Ask students to share who they would bring back from the dead and why.
Connections to Edible Education Framework

Communication is strengthened by learning about the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos, writing a remembrance and sharing it. Sustainability is highlighted by using amaranth flour for the dough, an ancient crop significant to Aztec culture. Nourishment is acquired by making bread to honor those who have passed, and learning about the significance of food on Dia de los Muertos to nourish the spirits of the dead. Life Skills are sharpened as students learn about different units of measurement used in baking, how to measure flour precisely, follow a precise recipe and knead bread dough by hand.

Academics fulfill Common Core State Standards in ELA for vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies; integrating information presented in different media; following precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; integrating quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually; engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; interpreting information presented in diverse media; presenting claims and findings; adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks; including multimedia components and visual displays in presentations; demonstrating command of standard English grammar; using knowledge of language and its conventions; and acquiring words and phrases. See Connections to Academic Standards below for details.

Connections to Academic Standards

Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts and Literacy, Grade 6

  • RH.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies. RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RH.6.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • RST.6.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.  
  • RST.6.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • SL.6.1.b Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    • SL.6.1.c Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
    • SL.6.1.d Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
  • SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL.6.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
  • SL.6.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language standards 1 and 3 on page 53 for specific expectations.)
  • L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • L.6.1.a Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • L.6.1.b Use all pronouns, including intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves) correctly.
    • L.6.1.c Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • L.6.1.d Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
  • L.6.3 . Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
    • L.6.3.a Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/ listener interest, and style.
    • L.6.3.b Maintain consistency in style and tone.
  • L.6.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Connections to Edible Schoolyard Standards

Edible Schoolyard 3.0 

In the Edible Schoolyard Program

  • 1.0: Students work with each other and teachers to develop community and personal stewardship, along with skills that will help them navigate different situations throughout their lives.
  • 1.1 – 3.12: This lesson fulfills all Edible Schoolyard Program standards, numbers 1.1 through 3.12. See The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley Standards for details.

In the Kitchen Classroom, 6th grade

  • Tools 2.1.2: Identify measuring tools from the ESY Toolbox and follow instructions to use and care for them.
  • Techniques 2.2.5: Use basic techniques as instructed, and refer to them by name in conversation.

All lessons at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley are developed in collaboration with the teachers and staff of the Edible Schoolyard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

Learning Cycle and Think-Pair-Share discussion routine © The Regents of the University of California. All materials created by BEETLES™ at The Lawrence Hall of Science.

This lesson follows the BEETLES Project’s Learning Cycle (Invitation-> Exploration -> Concept Invention -> Application -> Reflection) and uses their Discussion Routines (Think-Pair-Share, Whip-Around). All are highlighted * with an asterisk for easy identification. See the documents BEETLES Discussion Routines and BEETLES Learning Cycle included in Resources below for more information.

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