Activity Overview

Grigori Rasputin called himself a “holy man”. He managed to gain access to Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra by being able to manage their son Prince Alexis’s hemophilia. His presence also contributed to the downfall of the Romanov Dynasty. Much has been written about the alleged magical powers of Rasputin. Students will take as critical look at these claims of mystical powers.

Students will challenge four of the mystical qualities of Rasputin. The legendary qualities and stories attributed to Rasputin are in the first column of the storyboard. The second column of the storyboard will be student-created. Each cell should show student research into a logical explanation for Rasputin’s alleged “mystical powers”.

Research Links:

The Legend of Rasputin Rasputin Debunked?
Rasputin could ease Prince Alexis' hemophilia. Was Rasputin using hypnosis?
Czar Nicholas' son had severe hemophilia. Rasputin was able to ease the Prince's suffering when he had an attack. The University of Maryland Medical Center conducted a study on the effectiveness of hypnosis on hemophilia. Researchers found it was an effective way to slow bleeding.
Poison had no effect on Rasputin. Did the assassins provide the antidote with the poison?
The decision was made to kill Rasputin. One of the alleged assassins, Prince Yusupov, invited Rasputin to his palace for an evening of drinking. Yusupov poisoned the wine and cakes with potassium cyanide - but they had no effect on Rasputin. The antidote for potassium cyanide is glucose. Poisoning sweet wine and pastries may have made the poison ineffective.
Bullets had no effect on Rasputin. Was Rasputin killed with a single bullet?
The five assassins shot Rasputin several times - once in the torso from point blank range. He survived multiple shots before being fatally shot. Autopsies show that Rasputin was the victim of a gunshot wound to the head - the assassins did not disclose this. Some say his wounds were added posthumously to make the assassins seem heroic.
Rasputin could not be drowned. Was Rasputin dead before he ever hit the water?
The assassins bound up Rasputin's dead body and threw him into the frozen Malaya Nevka river. When his body was found the next day, evidence showed that Rasputin struggled in the water and was still alive after poisoning and multiple gunshots. Autopsies showed that Rasputin had no water in his lungs. This indicates that he never struggled in the water.

Extended Activity

After students create storyboard cells that present reasonable explanations for Rasputin's mystical attributes, they could be asked to provide their own explanations for what happened on the night Rasputin was killed in a storyboard. Prompts for this activity could include: motives, timelines, identity of the assassins, etc.

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.)

Student Instructions

Create a T Chart comparing and contrasting the Legend and Reality of Rasputin

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher
  2. In one column, note the legends associated with Rasputin's work and death
  3. In the other column, describe the realities behind these legends
  4. Illustrate each cell with appropriate scenes, characters, and items
  5. Save and submit your storyboard

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Compare and Contrast Texts/Renditions
Create a storyboard that compares the text with one or more texts, versions, or history.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Comparison Analysis
Text and images include a clear explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics. These comparisons go beyond superficial elements and show strong understanding of the story elements.
Text and images include an explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics, but the explanation may lack clarity or show only superficial understanding in some squares.
Text and images may include no explanation of similarities and/or differences, or they may make only superficial or inaccurate comparisons.
Textual Explanation
The text clearly and accurately describes all the scenes and concepts depicted.
The text clearly and accurately describes most of the scenes and concepts depicted.
The text fails to describe most of the scenes clearly and accurately.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.

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