CHS students create sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos

Sugar skulls are beautiful and creative. They are not only fun to make but also represent another culture.

Originally, these skulls were made of sugar tightly pressed into molds of skulls. These molds were later left to dry and the skull would be decorated with feathers, colors and beads.

“Sugar skulls are a great thing for us to make to celebrate Dia de los Muertos! Some of our Hispanic families participate and celebrate Dia de los Muertos,” said Ms. Bonner, CHS media specialist who led the event today using grant money awarded for circuitry through student STEAM projects. She explained the history and cultural significance of this beautiful artwork.

These skulls are a large part of Mexican culture. This type of folk art is made to honor the dead during Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

Different type of sugar skulls served different purposes: small ones to honor the death of children and the larger ones for the adults.

Today, Cherokee High Students were invited to come in during their lunch period to partake in this fun craft. Using the wires, CR2032 batteries and cards provided to make their very own light up skull, students shared a unique moment to both celebrate a culturally significant event and sharpen STEAM skills.

Students are finished with their sugar skull!

Very fragile material was used, including copper wires and batteries. As students bend and play with the wire its important to keep the goal in mind: keep the wires in one piece.

Not only do these skulls help students have a deeper understanding of other cultures, but they also help students use what they have learned in class. “You’re doing a little bit of science and a little math at the same time,” said Ms. Bonner

And they weren’t that easy to make either! Bending wires, placing them in correct places, and using the small light bulbs correctly proved a hard, but amazingly fun challenge.

First, students had to color their skulls. Using a wide variety of colors would leave these skulls looking not only exotic, but beautiful as well.

Nyasia Butler colors her skull.

Then wires would have to be placed in correct positions. Different angles and different charges that must touch in order for the skull to be properly made.

The science of conductivity and different charges would have to be kept in mind as you bend and make wires touch. Students had to make sure sure their small light bulbs were in the right spot so the bulbs light up.

After all this, students would be left with not only a beautifully colored skull, but it would also light up in a gorgeous bright light. They would be ready to show off and give away.

Making these skulls provided students with not just an amazing opportunity to be part of another culture and connect close with it, but also to have fun creating a craft. One that seems simple but uses a lot of small details that are challenging, yet fun.

To see the instructions to make your own, view the PowerPoint below!

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