What Is Easter?


What Is Easter explains the origins of the Easter holiday and its symbols, significant terms, and celebrations. Students will learn about both the secular and religious traditions. This lesson is perfect for elementary and middle school students.

The “Options for Lessons” section of the classroom procedure page outlines some additional activities your students can participate in as a part of this lesson. These activities include dyeing their own Easter eggs or going on an Easter egg hunt. They may also create a timeline with important dates surrounding Easter, like Ash Wednesday.

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What our What Is Easter lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: What Is Easter teaches students all about this Christian holiday. The lesson describes both its religious and secular traditions, including the holiday’s origins and how people celebrate today. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. Supplies needed for this lesson include colored pencils, drawing the paper, and handouts.

Options for Lesson

The “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page outlines some additional activities and variations that you can use when presenting this lesson to your students. One idea is for students to participate in some classic Easter activities, such as dyeing hardboiled eggs or going on an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs. They could also create a song for the holiday. An another activity, you could ask students to create a timeline that includes Lent, Easter, and some other Christian days. One more idea is for students to participate in Lent as a part of this lesson and give something up for 40 days. They could document their experience and share what they learned with the class later.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes an additional paragraph of useful information. It emphasizes that not all of your students will know the origins of the holiday and may not have celebrated Easter before. This page also includes space for you to write any notes you may have prior to the lesson.


Easter and Christianity

This lesson includes four content pages. The first page provides students with an overview of the Easter holiday, along with a brief description of its origin. It describes that the holiday is celebrated by Christians but also secularly by non-Christians. The holiday falls on a different date every year, but it is always on a Sunday in the spring.

The following lesson pages describe the relationship between the holiday of Easter and the religion of Christianity. The religious origins of the holiday can be found in the New Testament of the Bible and center on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This section also describes some of the religious activities that are related to Easter, such as Lent.

Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter, during which people fast and pray. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a day when Christians who are participating in Lent receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads. The section also touches on other specials days like Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) and Holy Thursday (part of the last week of Lent). Good Friday is the official start of the three-day Easter weekend and symbolizes the day of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Next, students will learn about some other ways we can celebrate Easter. For example, some Protestants celebrate an entire Easter season called Eastertide, which ends 50 days after Easter Sunday. Easter Orthodox branches, on the other hand, celebrate a season called Pascha for 40 days following Easter. It ends with an event called the Feast of the Ascension. In addition, this part of the lesson describes the connection between Easter and the Passover—a Jewish holy day—and the exodus.

The Easter Bunny, Eggs, and More

The final part of this lesson details the secular version of the Easter holiday. The origins of the secular holiday go back to the 1700s in Germany, which is where the idea of the Easter Bunny comes from. Easter egg hunts, the White House Easter Egg Roll, and more are other secular activities. The lesson also describes the tradition of having a large family meal on Easter with ham or lamb as the main dish. While some Christian denominations have forbidden secular traditions, many other Christian observers of the holiday actually include many of the secular traditions in their celebrations.

Key Terms

Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:

  • Easter—the Christian holy day celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection
  • Fasting—the act of abstaining from food or drink for a period of time
  • Holy Week—the seven days before Easter Sunday
  • Pascha—the Greek term for Easter; season celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox
  • Resurrection—the event in which Jesus Christ rose from the dead
  • Easter Egg Roll—an event held at the White House every year for parents and children
  • 12 apostles—the followers of Jesus; attended the Last Supper
  • Exodus—a mass departure of people
  • Ash Wednesday—the first day of Lent
  • Holy Thursday—the day Jesus’ Last Supper is celebrated
  • Lent—the 40-day period of fasting prior to Easter
  • Passover—a Jewish day associated with Easter
  • Good Friday—the day Jesus Christ’s crucifixion is observed
  • Palm Sunday—the day that commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem
  • Eastertide—the Easter season some Protestant denominations celebrate


The What Is Easter lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. All of these worksheets are designed to test students’ knowledge and mastery of the lesson plan material. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For this activity, there are four separate parts. First, students will work in pairs to fill out a blank calendar with various days related to the religious Easter holiday. These include Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. (Students may also work alone or in groups for this activity if you prefer.) The next part of the activity requires students to decorate an egg that they would use during the White House Easter Egg Roll. Then they will respond to a prompt about Lent. They must decide what they would give up for Lent and explain why. Finally, students will create an Easter poster that includes information about both the religious and secular versions of the holiday.


Like the activity, the practice worksheet divides into two sections. Students will first match Easter terms with the correct definitions. There is a total of 15 terms and definitions to match. For the second section, students will answer five questions that test their understanding of the lesson material.


The homework assignment for this lesson plan asks students to come up with Jeopardy-style questions for various Easter-themed words and phrases. The worksheet provides an example that students can use as a reference. In total, there are 10 “answers” for which they will write questions. Students will then determine whether various statements are true (T) or false (F). There are 10 statements in this section.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson includes answer keys for the activity worksheet (just the calendar portion), the practice worksheet, and the homework assignment. The correct answers are all in red to make it easy for you to compare them to students’ responses. Given the nature of some of the questions, there will be some variation. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies, Video

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Cynthia C.

What is Easter

This was perfect and a wonderful way to explain the meaning of Easter.