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La Quinceañera: Exploring Rites of Passage


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Lesson title: La Quinceañera

By: Kristen Leslie
Primary Subject: Other
Secondary Subjects: Social Studies, Computers and Internet, Language Arts, Hispanic heritage
Grade Level: 9-12


Definition and history of a quinceañera and how it compares to other rites of passage


Students will be able to:

  • Define the term “rite of passage”
  • Identify different rites of passages
  • Explain the importance of a quinceañera in Hispanic culture
  • Cite the origin(s) of the quinceañera
  • Locate the countries on a map that celebrate this tradition
  • Compare and contrast other rites of passages with that of a quinceañera

Benchmark/Content Standards

1.2.N.L.d – Understand main idea and supporting detail, and summarize a visual media or live presentation (film/DVD, TV shows and commercials, theatre and musical production.)

2.1.N.H.a – Explain the chronology of major historic events and their impact on the culture of a community or country in which the language is spoken.

2.1.N.F.e – Compare the practices and significance of an important:
civil or religious holiday or celebration
regional holiday or celebration
personal or family holiday or celebration across multiple communities or cultures in which the target language is spoken

4.1.N.a – Identify the significance of the cultural practices within the target culture(s) and compare them to one’s own

Materials Needed

  • World map
  • PowerPoint on history of the quinceañera
  • Video of a quinceañera
  • Venn diagram model

Development of Lesson

Introduction: The bell ringer assignment will be posted on the board. It will ask students to define the term “rite of passage” and list at least three examples. They may consult a dictionary if needed. After completing the morning’s administrative tasks, the teacher will ask students to share their answers. Then as a class, we will come up with a definition of “rite of passage” and a list of examples.


  • Students will work quietly on defining the term rite of passage and listing three examples as a bell ringer assignment.
  • Students will share their definitions and examples in order to come up with a working definition of rite of passage.
  • The teacher will define “a quinceañera” and explain the origin(s) of the tradition.
  • The teacher will use a map to locate the countries that celebrate the tradition.
  • The teacher will show a video in the target language that will explain the history and show a modern-day quinceañera along with an interview of the birthday girl.
  • Students will work in groups of three or four to create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast a quinceañera with one or two other rites of passages of their choosing. (All students will participate in the activity. They will also choose a recorder, presenter and a timekeeper.)
  • The teacher will bring the class together and have one member from each group present the group’s findings.
  • The teacher will make a list of the key features of the quinceañera for tomorrow’s lesson.


Students may listen to a podcast about what a quinceañera is like from the Library of Congress.

Assessment/Evaluation of Student Learning

Class participation in the discussions and completion of Venn diagram.


Sharing results of Venn diagrams and creating a list of key components of a quinceañera for tomorrow’s lesson.

Email Kristen Leslie

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