Lesson Plan 9th – 12th Grade


-Students will understand where Mardi Gras comes from and how Carnival came to be.
-Students will learn about the history and practices of Mardi Gras as it pertains to French, German, and American culture
-Students will be able to write three papers about Mardi Gras, give presentation and work with others to discover the history of Mardi Gras.

Time Allotment: 

Approximately 5 (1 hour) class periods plus homework.

Supplies Needed:

Mardi Gras Beads (one for each student)
Doubloons (Variety)
2 King Cakes (ordered)
For information and to order Mardi Gras items please visit MardiGrasDay.com.


Day 1

Q/A and Homework Assignment:

Start an open forum about what is Mardi Gras. Where it is from, what countries celebrate it, and what is being celebrated? At the end of class you will be giving each student a topic to research so try to cover each topic. Have in mind a topic for each student to write five sentences about. Have each student pull his or her topic from a hat and write them down on a list to keep track. Have each student research his or her topic over the Internet.

Day 2 

Presentation and Class Discussion:

All students should come to class ready to present their topic (1-2 Minutes).

Their presentation should state how their topic is related to Mardi Gras. Some topics that might be chosen are Mask, Beads, New Orleans, King Cakes, Lent, Fasching, Pagan rituals, Floats, Throws, History, Brazil, and Religion.

Day 3


Draw three headings on the chalkboard: 1. Eat junk food and soda all day, 2. Eat normal amount of junk food, 3. Eat less than normal amounts of food. Tell the kids that after today, they will have to stop eating all forms of junk food, pizza, fast food, and soda, for the next month. Also tell them that they can do whichever they want to do today. Have all students walk up and put their name under each heading, which corresponds to what they would like to do on their last day. Have select kids talk about their selection and this will lead into the foundation of Mardi Gras. This will lead you into the lecture.


Talk about the basic concept of Mardi Gras. “Eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow we all die.” Explain the other basic concepts and the history of Mardi Gras and where it is celebrated. Also introduce Mardi Gras Krewes and what role they play in Mardi gras. The board assignment will help lead you into the history of the Pagan side of Mardi Gras and how it is related to harvest and the Catholic Church.

Day 4 


Give each student in the group a different topic related to Mardi Gras and carnivals. You may choose to use topics such as: Carnival (entire period of balls and parades), Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), Krewes (ex. Comus and Rex), masks (history of them and purpose in the festivities), Lent and Strove Tuesday, Doubloons and other throws. To gather information regarding these topics, refer to the information at MardiGrasDay.com. If computer access is not easy, just print out a Mardi Gras package for each group. Let the students study their topic overnight and in class.

Day 4

2 man Group Projects

Split class into two-man groups and have each group write a two-page paper on Mardi Gras. They will have class time to write this paper and the Internet (if possible as a guide) and the teacher as a reference. Each paper can be about any aspect that the group finds interesting. The group will have to give a brief presentation (30 seconds) of what they found to be interesting about Mardi Gras. These presentations will be given on the last day of the lesson.

Day 5 

Open Discussion, King Cake

Pick two students to be the King and Queen of Mardi Gras. Have them cut the King Cake and hand it out. Explain the meaning of finding the baby. While eating king cake discuss with the students what they have learned about Mardi Gras and Carnival: how it got started, some of the traditions, and when and where it occurs. Ask each student to answer any of three questions for a homework paper over the weekend.


Overnight topic (questions)
Group participation
Two-man group papers
Written paper on three facts about Mardi Gras and Carnivals.