Spanish Level 1, Activity 07: El Árbol Genealógico / Family Tree (Face-to-Face)

Did you know that you can access the complete collection of Pathways Project Spanish activities in our new Let’s Chat! Spanish pressbook? View the book here: 

Please Note: Many of our activities were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner. 

El Árbol Genealógico / Family Tree


Students will practice recognizing family member terms (i.e. abuela: grandma), describe family members, and accurately use vocabulary related to families in Spanish. They will acquire information about another individual’s family and will practice describing their own and others’ family members.

Semantic Topics:

Family, family tree, famous families, family members, description, familia, árbol genealógico, familias famosas, describir

Grammatical Structures:

Descriptive adjectives, possessive adjectives, adjetivos descriptivos, adjetivos posesivos


Family trees


Multi-generational living


 What is the importance of family and taking care of your relatives in Hispanic culture? 

Relevant National (ACTFL) World-Readiness Standards:

  • Standard 1.1 - Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 1.2 - Students understand and interpret spoken and written Spanish on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 1.3 - Students present information, concepts, and ideas in Spanish to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 4.2 - Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons between Hispanic cultures and their own.

Relevant Idaho State Standards:

  • COMM 1.1 - Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.
  • COMM 1.2 - Explain the relationship between cultural practices/behaviors and the perspectives that represent the target culture’s view of the world.

Relevant NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can ask and answer questions about the members of my family and ask about someone else's family
  • I can describe the characteristics of someone
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify whom people consider to be part of their family 

Materials Needed:

Whiteboards & Markers

Famous Family Trees 

Google Slideshow 

Would you like to make changes to the materials? Access the template(s) below:

- Famous Family Trees (Canva Template, free account required)


  1. Begin by opening the Google Slideshow and introducing the Can-Do’s.
    Hola, ¿cómo están? Estoy ____. Vamos a empezar el lab de hoy con los can-do statements.
  2. Split your students into groups of 2-3 and give each group a famous family tree.
    Vamos a dividirnos en grupos de 2-3. Cada grupo va a tener un árbol genealógico de una familia famosa.
  3. Have the students in their groups/partners discuss the relationships of the family tree in Spanish. 
    En sus grupos, hablen sobre las relaciones de la familia en su árbol genealógico. Por favor hablen en Español.
  4. Ejemplo: _______ es la madre de ______.

    4. Have each small group present the family tree to the entire group. When presenting to the entire group, have students choose three characters and describe them.
    Por favor presenten las relaciones familiares de su árbol familiar. ¿Quién es la mamá de quién? ¿Quién es el hijo o hija de quién? También deben escoger tres personas y describirlas. 

    Ejemplo: “Marge es la mama de MaggieBart y LisaElla es intelligente.” (La familia Simpson)

Main Activity

  1. Give each student a whiteboard and a marker.
    (Optional modification: This website has a user-friendly family tree generator that would be a great option for use with laptops and doesn’t limit the space as a whiteboard would.)
  2. Have the students work in partners. Make sure students interview each other and create a family tree for their partner.
    Van a hacer una entrevista sobre sus familias. No van a llenar su propio árbol, sino el de su pareja. Necesitan hacer preguntas como: ¿Tienes un hermano? ¿Cómo se llama?
  3. Take time to model what you want the students to do with a student.
    Por ejemplo, si yo estoy con esta persona (gesture to a student), yo puedo preguntarle “¿Cuántos hermanos o hermanas tienes? “¿Tienes tíos?” Y yo voy a dibujar el árbol de mi pareja. 
  4. Students should be going back and forth asking questions to each other so that they are both drawing each other’s trees at the same time.
    Ustedes deben tomar turnos hablando y haciendo preguntas, para que cada persona esté dibujando el árbol genealógico al mismo tiempo.
  5. After making the family tree of their partner, each person has to tell the group one thing about their partner’s family.
    Tienen que compartir algo de la familia de sus parejas. Por ejemplo, “Mi pareja tiene 10 hermanos y no tiene primos.
  6. Now, the students will turn to their partners again and ask about the characteristics of their family members. For example, students can ask, “What is your mom like?”
    Ahora, tienen que hablar sobre características de tu familia con tu pareja. Por ejemplo, pregunten: ‘¿Cómo es tu madre?’ Y la pareja puede responder: ‘Mi madre es muy alta y morena. También es muy simpática y le encanta correr.’
  7. After taking turns describing different family members, the instructor can go around with each student and have them share one of the family members and their description.
    Ahora voy a preguntarles a cada uno de ustedes sobre uno de sus miembros de familia y deben describirlo. 
  8. If time permits, the instructor can have the students ask them about their family and draw out their family tree as the students ask them questions. The instructor can also have students ask them to describe a family member.
    Ahora ustedes pueden preguntarme sobre mi familia y yo voy a dibujar mi árbol genealógico usando sus preguntas. Después, ustedes pueden hacerme preguntas sobre mi familia y yo voy a describirla. 


Ask students following discussion questions to talk about in their groups:
• En tu cultura, ¿a quién consideras parte de tu familia?
• En otras culturas, ¿a quienes se les considera parte de la familia?

End of Activity:

• Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence with a comprehension check
Examples of comprehension checks: 
     • Thumbs up/sideways/down
     • Emojis to represent how students feel about their Can-Do statements

Cultural Notes:

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