Activity Overview

When choosing someone to research, students often pick someone who they look up to, admire, or want to be like. Perhaps a young soccer player wants to be a professional and chooses Alex Morgan, or a child who is interested in the piano chooses Mozart. Whenever a biography is written, it usually focuses on a theme, or a recurring idea, that centers around the person’s fame and/or importance. Some themes that are commonly seen in biographies are: rising above challenges, always being yourself, never giving up, and resilience in the face of adversity.

For this activity, the student will choose a biographical theme that pertains to the person they are researching and create a spider map showing examples of this theme. Alternatively, the student may choose more than one theme and make a cell representing each.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/3/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/3/7] Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/WHST/6-8/2/A] Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/WHST/6-8/2/B] Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a 3 cell spider map detailing examples of a biographical theme in your person's life.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click “Start Assignment”.
  2. Write the theme in the middle box.
  3. Complete each heading.
  4. Create an illustration that represents each heading using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Write a short summary of each heading in the space below the illustration.
  6. Save often!


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