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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our High School ELA Category!

Student Activities for Frankenstein Include:

Are you looking to inspire and engage your students during a unit on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley? Check out this teacher guide with valuable ways to create visual storyboards with your class that incorporate all four ELA Common Core standards.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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A Frankenstein Summary

After creating a monster who killed and destroyed many of his family and friends, Dr. Victor Frankenstein has chased the creature to the North Pole, where he encounters a ship, lead by Captain Walton, on an expedition. Near death, Victor recounts his story to Walton, to stop Walton from making Frankenstein’s mistake: searching for glory at all costs. The captain relays this story to his wife, in a series of letters.

Early Life: Victor is part of a well-to-do family in Geneva. He is the oldest son of loving parents, Alphonse and Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein. The altruistic family adopts Elizabeth Lavenza, an orphan. As Victor is about to go off to school, his mother dies of scarlet fever. Caroline’s dying wish for Victor is to marry Elizabeth.

Cut off from his family, and pouring himself into his work at Ingolstadt University, Victor Frankenstein learned the secret to creating life. After raiding graveyards for human limbs and organs, he builds a creature, and brings it to life. Beholding the result, Frankenstein runs from his creation in terror.

Soon after, he becomes sick. When he awakes, the monster is gone, to Victor’s relief. However, he hears that his younger brother, William, has been killed, and the family maid, Justine, is suspected. Victor returns home to Geneva and knows immediately that the monster, not Justine, is responsible for William’s death, but Victor does not say anything in fear that people would not believe him. Justine sentenced to hang.

While vacationing, Frankenstein discovers the monster has been following him. Confronting his creator, the creature tells Frankenstein how hard his life has been. He was forced to learn everything on his own. After some time, he took shelter in a small shed attached to the home of former French aristocrats. He observed them through a peephole and learned by watching them. He wants desperately to feel companionship, but is despised by humans because of his unnatural appearance. The monster sought out Frankenstein to make him a bride, so that he would not be alone. Williams’ death was caused by the creature out of spite, and the monster threatens to kill more people if he does not get his wish.

Under duress, Frankenstein agrees to begin working on a mate for the creature. However, he never finishes, breaking his promise. The monster kills his friend, Clerval, and vows he will see Frankenstein on his wedding day. Victor assumes he himself is the target, but the creature kills his wife, Elizabeth, instead. Victor Frankenstein is left as alone in the world, much like the monster he created.

Seeking revenge, Frankenstein follows the monster north. It is here he runs into Walton and the expedition. After telling the crew this unbelievable story, he dies. The monster comes in to pay his last respects, and tells Walton that he intends to set himself on fire.

In the end, Walton turns his expedition back, partially because his men tell him to, and partially to heed the moral of Frankenstein, and Shelly’s, story: some achievements are not worth the cost.


Essential Questions For Frankenstein

  1. How does ambition motivate people, as both a positive and negative trait?
  2. Which affects a person’s beliefs more: nature or nurture?
  3. Do human beings have the right to pursue scientific exploration regardless of the outcome? Where are the limits?

Frankenstein Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | Frankenstein Summary


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example Frankenstein Plot Diagram

Exposition

Victor Frankenstein is found chasing a monster at the North Pole. He meets Captain Walton, who is on a scientific expedition. Victor tells him his life story.


Conflict

Victor Frankenstein discovered the secret of bringing things to life. He used body parts from a graveyard and assembled a "creature" who came to life. Upon seeing his creation, he ran in fear, deserting it, and became ill. This forced the monster to fend for himself.


Rising Action

The monster searched for companionship and love. Due to his hideous nature, he only found rejection. One day, he stumbled upon a shed attached to a small cottage. He hid there and learned by observing the home's occupants, the De Laceys, through a peephole in the wall. When the day came to reveal himself, they too shrieked in terror, sending the monster into the woods once again. Bitter and hurt, the monster searched for his creator to get revenge.


Climax

After killing Frankenstein's younger brother, William, he forces Frankenstein to make him a bride. When Victor breaks his promise, the monster kills his friend, Clerval, and then Victor’s wife, Elizabeth.]


Falling Action

Out of revenge, Frankenstein follows the monster north. It is here that he runs into Walton and his expedition. After telling the crew this unbelievable story, he dies.


Resolution

The monster comes to pay his last respects and tells Walton that he intends on killing himself by setting himself on fire. In the end, Walton turns his expedition back, partially because his men tell him to, and partially due to the moral of the story: some scientific advancements are not worth the cost.


Frankenstein Plot Diagram

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Frankenstein.


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Story Outline Storyboard Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Frankenstein Themes

Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the novel, and support their choices with details from the text as they track the rich symbolism Mary Shelley uses throughout Frankenstein.

Ideas and Themes to Discuss

The Quest for Knowledge

Do human beings have the right to pursue science regardless of the outcome? Throughout the novel, Shelley refers back to this essential question as readers watch a product of science be abandoned by his creator. In an age where students are becoming cyber-connected and stem cell research is a hot topic, many people are debating the meaning of life and how far science should be pushed. Not only does Shelley explore the implications of scientific advancement at the cost of the human condition, but the outcome of knowledge as well. Can we as a human race handle the answers that we seek?


Fear and Rejection

The shows the lives of Victor and his monster unfold in a parallel. Victor's fear, and that of other people, leads them to reject the monster. No matter how he tries to win over "human creatures", he cannot. As his creator, Victor should have been the one person to look passed the monster’s harsh appearance and love him for who he is. Even when the monster approaches the old and blind man in the De Lacey family, the fear instilled by his monstrous appearance that keeps the family from becoming his friends. This repeated rejection results in repeated tragedy.


Nature vs. Nurture

A longstanding question is whether nature or nurture shapes a person more. What makes a person who they are; what causes them to act the way that they do and have the beliefs they have? Is it a person's environment or their genes? One commonly debated motif that is clearly seen in Shelley's work is what the true causes are of the monster's rancorous behavior. Is it his creator's fault? Did Victor supersede nature? Was the monster born this way or was it his environment that caused his malice?


Frankenstein Themes

Example

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Frankenstein Tragic Hero


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Frankenstein is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this novel, Frankenstein and his monster both fit this archetype.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, first articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. In the storyboard example, the creator has focused on Victor Frankenstein as a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes and how they apply to Dr. Frankenstein. Students could choose to examine Frankenstein’s monster instead, or compare the two side by side in a grid layout.


Example Tragic Hero Activity of Victor Frankenstein

ATTRIBUTEDEFINITIONEXAMPLE FROM TEXT
Hamartia Flaw that Causes the Hero's Downfall Frankenstein’s blind ambition leads him to investigate science that is best left alone.
Hubris Excessive Pride Victor believes he can conquer death with science, recklessly playing “God” and ignoring the natural order.
Peripeteia Reversal of Fortune Victor thinks the monster is gone but returns home to find his brother, William, killed and the creature lurking.
Anagnorisis Hero Makes a Critical Discovery Victor realizes his monster killed his new bride, Elizabeth, and this is what was meant by, “I shall be with you on your wedding-night.”
Nemesis Unavoidable Fate Once Victor brought the monster to life, his fate was inextricably intertwined with it, to the ends of the earth, and the ends of their lives.
Catharsis Pity or Fear the Audience Feels After Hero's Fall In the end, the reader is left feeling pity for Victor, and fear that they too could suffer the consequences of hubris. Captain Walton, a surrogate for the reader, heeds the lesson and sails for home.
Frankenstein Tragic Hero

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


"

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how either Victor Frankenstein or his monster can be considered a tragic hero.


  1. Identify events of the novel or characteristics of Frankenstein/the monster that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Frankenstein/the monster as a tragic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.



Tragic Hero Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)






Conflict in Frankenstein





Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflicts. Having students create storyboards that show the cause and effect of different types of conflicts strengthens analytical thinking about literary concepts. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the storyboard creator. In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.

In Frankenstein, much of the conflict stems from the resentment and rejection that the monster feels from society. Chapter by chapter, Frankenstein's monster grows more hateful of his creator and turns to murder to release his anger and enact his revenge.

Examples of Literary Conflict in Frankenstein

MAN vs. MAN (MONSTER): Frankenstein vs. His Creation

As the creatures' feelings of rejection and bitterness grow towards his creator, the monster uses murder to make Frankenstein pay for what he has done.


MAN vs. NATURE: Frankenstein Creating Life

Victor bringing his creation to life violates the laws of nature. When he is asked to repeat the process, he denies the monster by destroying the monster’s bride.


MAN vs. SOCIETY: Monster vs. Society

Rejected because he is hideous, society banishes the monster and he becomes an outcast.


Frankenstein - Literary Conflicts

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in Frankenstein.


  1. Identify conflicts in Frankenstein.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.



Literary Conflict Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)






Frankenstein Characters





As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details can become more important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students can record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties that make reading more enjoyable!

Using a character map for Frankenstein is even more beneficial. It allows students to record the nuances of characteristics that create "foil" characters. The information that they record will help them to return and review personalities that contrast. The ability to visually see this helps students create connections and makes understanding concepts easier.

You can click on this map and create a copy in your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Frankenstein Characters


Victor Frankenstein Protagonist whose scientific discovery led to the creation of a "monster".
The Monster The creature Frankenstein created is eight feet tall and has the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of a human being. After being rejected by his creator and others in society, he turns to murder to get revenge on Victor, the person he holds responsible.
William Frankenstein &
Justine Moritz
The younger brother of Victor, the first victim of the monster, and the maid framed for William’s death.
Elizabeth Victor's cousin, whom he marries. She is killed because Victor will not make a bride for his monster.
Walton An explorer who finds Victor near death and hears his story. Walton's recollections open and close the novel.
Henry Clerval Victor’s best friend and narrative foil; he is cheerful and optimistic.
The De Lacey Family Felix and Agatha are former French aristocrats. The monster learns from them by watching them through a peephole for over a year.
Frankenstein - Character Map

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in Frankenstein and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables for Static or Dynamic Character; General Traits; Quote about fear, rejection, or nurturing; and Quote about knowledge, science, or nature.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


Character Map Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Frankenstein Vocabulary Lesson Plan


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Another great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that displays vocabulary from Frankenstein. Here are a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the novel, and an example of a visual vocabulary board.

In the vocabulary board, students can choose between coming up with their use of the vocabulary word, finding the specific example from the text, or depicting the definition without words.


Example Frankenstein Vocabulary

  • elixir
  • chimera
  • anatomize
  • alchemist
  • countenance
  • prognosticated
  • mien
  • lassitude
  • pertinacity
  • paroxysm
  • metaphysical
  • salubrious
  • timorous
  • exhortations
  • wantonly
  • artifice
  • interment

Frankenstein Vocabulary

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Frankenstein by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Other Lesson Plan Ideas

  1. What type of character is the monster?
  2. Who's to blame? - Create a T-Chart comparing the faults of Victor and his creation.
  3. Dive deeper: research the meanings of characters’ names from the novel.
  4. Create a Chapter Recap storyboard; use one cell to depict each chapter of the novel.
  5. Add a presentation to any storyboard project to showcase abilities and meet CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards.

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