3rd Grade Family Traditions Webquest


What is a cultural tradition? (Think, pair, share with a neighbor).

Now, think about your favorite family tradition. Maybe it's making cookies during the holidays, sharing a meal with your whole family, or dressing up for Halloween. Today, we are going to learn about different cultural traditions and their significance.


1) Read the books listed below and fill out your "Reading Guide".

           -Harvest Festival

           -Farolitos for Abuelo

           -Nine Spoons

           -Too many Tamales

2) Read the articles linked in "Process" and fill in your "Research Guide" as you go along.

           -"Holi: Festival of Color"

           -"Storytelling and cultural traditions"

           -"Families who share different religious traditions at the holidays"         

3) Create a graphic organizer on a piece of paper and sort the traditions you read about in the books and articles into the following categories:





           -Changing of seasons


Some traditions may fit into more than one category. 

4) Create a digital story about your tradition on storyjumper. 

In each of the stories and articles you read, you learned about different cultural traditions and celebrations. Now that you've learned about these cultural traditions and celebrations, I want you to share some of yours.         

The link and directions for storyjumper and an are located in "Process". Your story should be descriptive and contain several images.

5) Read the digital stories of 3 other students and fill in your "Classroom Traditions" worksheet.


Online articles:

-Website Descriptions:

National Geographic Kids is an informative website that contains age appropriate articles, games, and videos. Newsela is most commonly utilized by teachers and contains age appropriate instructional content. Teachers can assign articles for students to read in addition to activities like quizzes to check for comprehension, power words to review new vocabulary, and prompts related to the article. The lexile level can be adjusted, 590 being optimal for 3rd graders. This feature allows for differentiation in the classroom as readers that need a challenge can increase their lexile level.

-Website Directions: 

The National Geographic Kids link labeled "Holi: Festival of Color", does not require you to make an account. Simply follow the link to the slideshow, look at the picture, and read the caption. When you are finished reading a slide, you can use the arrow on the right to go to the next one. There is also an arrow on the left to go back to previous slides. The two newsela articles can be accessed by clicking on their links. Once there, the website will ask you to create an account. First click "I am a learner". Then join the class using our code (written on board). Use Google to make an account. When you have accessed the article, you may highlight sections and add annotations.

Read through slideshow: "Holi: Festival of Colors"

Read article: "Storytelling and cultural traditions"

Read article: "Families who share different religious traditions at the holidays"


Digital Story:

-Website description:

Storyjumper is a digital story builder that students can use to create a picture book. The website allows users to add text, insert props and photos, and record their voices if they'd like their story to be heard. There is also an option to collaborate with other users. Students can use their creativity and imagination to produce a picture book which can be shared with family, friends, teachers, and classmates.

-Website Directions:

Click on the link to storyjumper and create an account using Google and your school ID. Once you are into the website click "Create a book" and choose a theme. I suggest starting with "blank". The first page it will take you to is the cover. You can title and decorate the cover using the toolbar to the left. It allows you to add text boxes, props, scenes, and photos which you can upload. The book's layout is located towards the bottom and can be used to navigate the pages. There are two gray arrows on either side of the current page allowing you to move through the book. When finished, click "share" and get a link to give to classmates who want to read your story.

Story Jumper Link

Story Jumper Example

Teacher Page


3.RL.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

3.W.6: With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

3.W.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.


Measurement Criteria: Each student will receive a hard copy of the "Family Traditions" project rubric.


Annotated Bibliography:

Anaya, R. A., & Gonzales, E. (1998). Farolitos for Abuelo. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.

Farolitos for Abuelo is a children’s book written by Rudolfo Anaya and illustrated by Edward Gonzales. The book is about a girl named Luz and her family who live in San Juan, New Mexico. She is especially close to her grandfather and is devastated when he tragically dies from pneumonia after rescuing a boy from a freezing river. Luz decides to honor her grandfather by placing farolitos, around his grave. The book addresses the Spanish cultural tradition of making farolitos from brown paper bags, sand, and a candle and illuminating them during Christmas. It also deals with death and how cultural traditions can help honor loved ones who have past away. Another significant aspect of this book is that Luz builds upon an existing tradition. In addition to making farolitos for Christmas, she and her family place them around her grandfather’s grave to honor his memory. The author introduces several Spanish foods, cultural items, and phrases. They are defined in a glossary at the back of the book.


Powell, J. (2008). Harvest festival. London: Franklin Watts.

Harvest Festival is a nonfiction children’s book written by Jillian Powell. The book explores different cultural traditions that celebrate a good harvest. Some of these celebrations include Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Pongal, Baisakhi, and many others. These celebrations can be grouped into a variety of cultural concepts including religion, honoring ancestors who have past away, cross-cultural experiences, feasting, and celebration of “plenty”. Harvest Festival contains a glossary, a “Religions in this book” page, and an index to help students navigate the pages and understand the concepts introduced. Powell includes several images depicting many diverse people and cultural traditions. She presents information in a way that promotes respect and tolerance while conveying the significance of each tradition. This book provides concrete facts and details which makes it a perfect fit into the collection of four books I have chosen. Though two other books are based on true stories, they use illustrations to help tell story. The inclusion of actual images is critical to facilitating true empathy in child readers, as they depict real people rather than just characters.


Soto, G. (1993). Too Many Tamales. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Too Many Tamales is a fictional children’s book written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez. The book is about a young girl, Maria, who accidently loses her mother’s wedding ring in a bowl of masa while making tamales for a Christmas get together. To find the ring, Maria and her cousins eat two dozen tamales, only for the ring to be accidently swallowed by one of the children. At the end of the book, Maria finds that the ring was on her mother’s finger the whole time and the family must make another batch of tamales. The book addresses the very important cultural tradition of feasting with loved ones. Readers can learn about the common Spanish tradition of making tamales during Christmas time while building their own connections. This book would be best accompanied with questions that help students relate the story to their own feasting traditions and dishes.


Stillerman, M., & Gerber, P. (2004). Nine spoons: a Chanukah story. Sacramento, CA: Clearinghouse for Specialized Media & Technology.

Nine Spoons is a heartwarming, but somewhat devastating children’s book written by Marci Stillerman and illustrated by Pesach Gerber. The book begins with a family meeting on the last night of Chanukah and listening to a story told by “Oma”. This story takes place in a concentration camp during the Holocaust and is about a group of women and children who gather spoons to create a Menorah. It covers many important cultural traditions including oral storytelling, religious holidays, and symbolism. Nine Spoons has a profound message that some people are willing to risk their lives to preserve their traditions. A few of the characters were not acquainted with each other at all and still worked to find spoons to celebrate the tradition. This shows that traditions can bring people together based on mutual culture, faith, or respect for one another. It promotes hope and the notion that one’s culture cannot easily be stripped from their identity even under cruel and oppressive regimes.