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The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street by Rod Sterling

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Twilight Zone - The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Include:

I remember reading this story as a play in middle school. I was captivated by the ending, and it has stayed with me ever since. Using the story in the classroom can prove to be a great tool for teaching themes, lessons, and morals. This lesson plan is designed to generate creativity and discussion around what happens when human nature gets out of hand.


Twilight Zone - The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Monsters on Maple Street Plot Diagram


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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. 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 novel 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.



The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Plot Diagram Example

Exposition

On quiet, suburban Maple Street, somewhere in America, the inhabitants notice a meteor-like object fly overhead. After it passes, all electronics and electricity go dead.


Conflict

A young boy named Tommy tells a story he read about aliens arriving from outer space. Believing his story, the people start to suspect each other of being secret aliens.


Rising Action

One resident, Pete Van Horn, leaves to check the next block over. Meanwhile, Mr. Goodman's car mysteriously starts. Everyone accuses him of being an alien. Steve tries to talk some sense into the mob, but fails. He becomes a suspect as attention is directed to the radio in his basement!


Climax

The mob sees a figure coming towards them. Charlie grabs a gun and accidentally shoots Van Horn, who has returned. Suddenly, Charlie's lights go on, and now he is the prime suspect.


Falling Action

Everyone is hysterical. Charlie screams that the real alien is Tommy, the young boy who knew the events before they happened.


Resolution

In the end, aliens watch the town as it destroys itself. A simple trick by the aliens turned the residents against each other; they themselves were the monsters, not the aliens.


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Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Themes, Symbols, and Motifs


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Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the themes this story uses to teach lessons to the audience.

Themes to Look For and Discuss

Fear/Paranoia

Fear and suspicion can cause normal, peaceful people (neighbors and friends) to turn on one another. Despite having known each other for some time, idiosyncrasies drive them to re-examine how well they know their neighbors.


Mankind as Its Own Worst Enemy

Ever noticed how mankind pulls itself down? This theme is present in this story and throughout history.


Prejudice

When people make prejudgments they are often irreversible. Once a thought is put into someone's mind, it is hard to root out. This is why prejudices are so dangerous. In the residents' search for a scapegoat, suspicion and prejudice lead to dire consequences.


People as Wild Animals

Throughout the story, the author creates metaphors around the people acting like animals. This symbolizes the loss of control humans have once hysteria and paranoia take control. They become no better than animals, living by instinct rather than rationality.


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


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the theme(s) from The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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The Maple Street Mob Character Map


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As students read, a storyboard can serves 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 story, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on 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.

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street character map helps students remember who were called out as scapegoats, and will visually show them how quickly things escalated. It will also provide a reference for discussion about how each person added to the hysteria.


Example Character Map

  • Name: Steve Brand
  • Description of character’s personality:
  • Leader, calming influence, intelligent, open-minded, tries to control the mob.

  • What causes the mob to focus on him?
  • He always works late in his basement on a radio.

  • Changes in character, physically or mentally?
  • He eventually gets angry, and stops trying to help.

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Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the major characters in The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and type their names into the different title boxes.
  3. Choose a character from to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  4. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  5. Fill in text for Character Traits, Mob Focus, Physical and Mental Changes,and an Important Quote.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Literary Conflict


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Literary conflicts are often taught during ELA units. Building on prior knowledge to achieve mastery level with our students is important. An excellent way to focus on the various types of literary conflict is through storyboarding. Having students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict it using the storyboard creator is a great way to reinforce your lesson!

Conflict is not only present, but is also an important recurring element in this story. Much of the conflict stems from the paranoia and hysteria the people create while they are searching to blame someone.

Examples of Conflict from The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

MAN vs. SELF

The residents of Maple St. are unable to control their fear. This leads to Charlie shooting Peter Van Horn.


MAN vs. SOCIETY

It seems the only person not joining the mob, was Steve. Throughout the story, he manages to keep a level head, and tries not to jump to accusing anyone. He remains logical and rational, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation. This runs very counter to the rest of the neighborhood.


MAN vs. MAN

Paranoia causes neighbors to turn on each other. A perfect example of this is how Charlie turned on Les when his car mysteriously started!


(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 The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify conflicts in The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.
  3. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  4. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the play.
  5. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Literary Elements


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Most short stories and screenplays are rich in figurative language and literary elements. These are used to enhance the symbols, motifs, and themes within the plot. Monsters on Maple Street is no exception. The use of simile, metaphor, personification, and onomatopoeia is abundant.

A great lesson plan, after reading the story, is for students to create a scavenger hunt using the storyboard creator. Give them a list of figurative language to find and have them create a storyboard that depicts and explains the use of each literary element in the story! They will have an absolute blast and master the words by the end.


Elements of Figurative Language - Motifs of Hysteria and Animal-like Behavior!

DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE
Metaphor An implied comparison between two things “Maple Street was bedlam. It was an outdoor asylum for the insane.”

"A fever had taken hold now, a hot burning virus..."
Simile A comparison using 'like' or 'as' "They blinked foolishly at the lights, and their mouths gaped like fishes"

"Like a hippopotamus in a circus"
Onomatopoeia The spelling of a word mimics the sound it represents "Everyone on the street looked up at the sound of the whoosh."
Personification Giving human-like characteristics to non-human objects or abstract ideas "The dull, dumb, blind prejudice of the man"

(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 different literary elements and use of figurative language in The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Review your list of literary elements.
  3. Look for examples of literary elements from the text.
  4. Illustrate each example using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Type in a description of what the literary element does to enhance the story.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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Modern Day Adaptation or Alternate Ending


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Creating Parodies and Satires, and Modern Day Adaptation are part of a rich literary tradition. They are also valuable tools for teaching students about literature. Through creative writing, students learn to use literary elements in context, committing these terms to memory.

Have students create their own modern day adaptation. For this assignment, you can have students rewrite the ending, rewrite the story in a contemporary setting, or choose an event from history that resonates with the themes of the story. Possible historical examples include the Salem Witch Trials, events leading up to the Holocaust, Japanese Internment Camps, and post 9/11 racial profiling.


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


Student Instructions

Create a plot diagram for an original story that uses ideas from The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Plan out an original story using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components. This is YOUR story, so get creative!
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



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A Quick Synopsis of Twilight Zone - The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street was originally an episode of the 1960s television show The Twilight Zone. Later, the episode was made into a graphic novel. The story deals with human nature and paranoia.

The story begins on quiet, suburban Maple Street. A shadow passes over, accompanied by a flash of light, a whooshing sound, and then a power outage. Immediately, people are in the streets speculating, and the idea of extraterrestrial visitors is mentioned. One resident, Peter, volunteers to take a look around. The characters believe that the aliens could be living as a family in the neighborhood who appear human. Hysteria takes hold, and residents start to accuse their neighbors. Everyone is a suspect, and the neighborhood is growing uneasy.

Panic of monsters steadily builds until, one night, a shadowy figure appears. Charlie, a main character, grabs a shotgun, and shoots the shadow in fear. Unfortunately, it is Peter Van Horn, returning from his scouting mission. He dies instantly. Suddenly, the lights in Charlie's house come on, and he panics as the crowd begins accusing him of being both a murderer and the monster responsible for the power being out. A witch hunt begins, and the neighborhood turns into an angry mob. Terrified residents produce weapons, a riot breaks out, and fear drives residents to shoot each other.

The ending scene reveals that the object that had flown overhead was indeed an alien spaceship. Alien observers watch the riot on Maple Street knowing they created the mass hysteria through the manipulation of the power. In the end, the residents of Maple Street were the real monsters. The aliens conclude that conquering Earth will be easy; the humans will destroy themselves.


Essential Questions for The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

  1. How can fear control you?
  2. What causes modern day mass hysteria?
  3. How do dire situations cause people to act out of character?
  4. Do you believe that psychological warfare is more dangerous than conventional weapons? Why?

Don’t Let the Fun Stop There! Check Out Our Other Lesson Plan Ideas

  1. Show specific causes and effects from the story in a storyboard.
  2. Use a storyboard to show how mass hysteria could start in your own classroom.
  3. Create a storyboard that helps learn new vocabulary words with Visual Vocabulary.
  4. Add a presentation to any storyboard project.

From Stephanie (Head of Creativity)

While creating scenes and characters for this article, we watched The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street Twilight Zone episode for inspiration. It's so cool that this story was converted from a black and white TV show to a screenplay and graphic novel! These formats give students a chance to read this story when before, they might never have been exposed to it. Despite the original being written in the 1950s, its theme is still very relevant today, and the story is more appealing now than ever before.

  • Artist Favorite: Need a car? Use search! Our artists have created a bunch of great cars from all eras.
  • Pro Tip: A great way to create crowds for your storyboard is to make use of the ones in the Silhouettes category. You can copy them, invert them, and cut them to make any size crowd you need!

Make sure to use our image search. It has more than 45,000 items!


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•   (English) The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street   •   (Español) Los Monstruos son Debidos en la Calle del Arce   •   (Français) Les Monstres Sont dus sur Maple Street   •   (Deutsch) Die Monster Sind auf Ahorn-Straße   •   (Italiana) I Mostri Sono Dovuti in Maple Street   •   (Nederlands) De Monsters Zijn te Wijten aan Maple Street   •   (Português) Os Monstros são Devidos em Maple Street   •   (עברית) המפלצות הן בשל ברחוב מייפל   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) وحوش ومن المقرر في شارع القيقب   •   (हिन्दी) दानव मेपल स्ट्रीट पर होने वाले हैं   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Монстры Подлежит Мейпл-стрит   •   (Dansk) De Monsters Forfalder på Maple Street   •   (Svenska) Monstren är Grund på Maple Street   •   (Suomi) Monsters Erääntyvät Maple Street   •   (Norsk) Monsters Forfaller på Maple Street   •   (Türkçe) Canavarlar Akçaağaç Caddesinde Vadede Geliyorlar   •   (Polski) Potwory są Należne na Maple Street   •   (Româna) Monsters Sunt Datorate pe Maple Street   •   (Ceština) Monstra Jsou Splatné na Maple Street   •   (Slovenský) Monstery sú Splatné na Maple Street   •   (Magyar) A Monsters Esedékes Maple Street   •   (Hrvatski) Čudovište su Zbog Ulice Maple   •   (български) Чудовищата се Дължат на Street Maple   •   (Lietuvos) Monstras yra dėl ant Klevų Gatvėje   •   (Slovenščina) Pošasti so Glede na Maple Street   •   (Latvijas) Monstriem ir Due Maple Street   •   (eesti) Koletised Tõttu Maple Street