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Activity Overview

The Great Race is the story of how the ancient Chinese zodiac came to be. Teachers can read the book (available on Amazon in English or Traditional Chinese, English, Pinyin) and students can recreate the story using a storyboard!

Giving students a graphic organizer to fill in as they read is helpful to pick out the most important facts and details.

After students listen to the story and (optional) fill out a note-taking sheet or graphic organizer, students can create a Storyboard with images and text that highlight the animals and the key events from the story! Students can have fun choosing a dog they like best as there are many dog options in the Storyboard Creator to choose from!

There are many other engaging books that introduce students to the traditional folktales and stories from ancient China. Here are some suggestions:

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: After reading or listening to The Great Race, create a narrative storyboard that includes important details from the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Student Instructions:

  1. In about 3-5 cells, write the major details of the story in order of occurrence.
  2. Add appropriate scenes, characters, and items to illustrate each cell. The Creator has each animal from the story.

Requirements: Beginning, Middle and End of the story The Great Race

Lesson Plan Reference

How To Use Stories to Understand a Concept


Read the Story With Students

Reading a story aloud with students helps them to create pictures in their minds about the story. This also assists them with any difficult vocabulary or ideas they might encounter because you are there to scaffold in real time.


Discuss Major Plot Elements

As you read, discuss the major plot elements of the narrative to ensure that each student understands what is going on in the story.


Help Students Understand Narrative Visually

Students can use a storyboard to place the major elements of the story. This helps them attain the sequencing and plot development skills that they need.

Frequently Asked Questions about Literature Connection

Can stories help students to better understand a culture?

Yes, stories often give students insights into a culture that are easier to understand than rote memorization and learning. By learning about the characters and their actions, students can learn about what is important to a culture.

How can natural phenomenon be explained through mythology and stories?

Each culture around the globe uses mythology to explain the unexplainable. In "The Great Race", for instance, the idea of the zodiac and Chinese calendar is explained through the animal characters in the story.

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