Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 4-12, students watch the BrainPOP movie Plot and explore the other features in this topic to learn what a plot is, how its constructed, and what keeps readers engaged in a plot. Students then apply their understanding by using a plot diagram to plan out a plot for a creative story, and finally turning it into a movie using Make-a-Movie. Note: this lesson may be spread out over several class periods.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about plot.
  2. Learn about what a plot is, how it’s structured, and what makes a plot engaging.
  3. Construct a plot using the Freytag Pyramid
  4. Use a storyboard to tell their story.
  5. BONUS: Turn their story into a movie.



  • Preview the movie Plot to plan for any adaptations.
  • Photocopy a class set of Plot Diagram (if students are working offline).
  • Assign the Plot Make-a-Map using the Assignment Builder.
  • Assign the Plot Make-a-Movie.
  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Ask students to share what they know about plot. You can help by giving an example of a plot they all know -- like a fairytale.
    2. Display the Plot topic page on the whiteboard, and invite a volunteer to read aloud the movie description at the bottom of the page.
    3. Show the Plot movie to the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or other large display, pausing as needed to explain or review key terms and concepts, such as protagonist, rising action, and denouement.
    4. Next, have students open their Make-a-Map assignment, or simply open the Plot Make-a-Map if you didn’t assign it, and have them select the Plot Diagram template. Alternatively, if working offline, distribute the Plot Diagram to each student. Explain that they will now come up with their own creative stories, planning out the parts of their plot using the Freytag’s pyramid. Remind them, though, that they don’t have to follow the pyramid precisely or else their story may feel too formulaic. If necessary, they can watch the movie again to recall the different parts of a plot.
    5. After completing their plot diagrams, have students open the Plot Make-a-Movie assignment (or just open Plot Make-a-Movie) keeping their Make-a-Map open in another window, if they used Make-a-Map. Instruct them to bring their stories to life in a movie.
    6. When pairs finish making their movies, have them share and compare with another student or with the whole class.

    Extension Activities:

    Ask students to revise their plots using techniques like flashback and in media res. How does that change the story?