Activity Overview

Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn 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. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in Dragonwings. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Dragonwings has many different subplots, so students may interpret these parts very differently. The example given is just one way to interpret the plot.

Example Plot Diagram for Dragonwings

Exposition: It is the early 1900s, and Moon Shadow, a young boy of just 7 years old, goes to live with his father, who he hasn’t met, in America. As Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, Moon Shadow, his father, and their extended family face many challenges while trying to run a successful laundromat.

Rising Action: The devastating San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 hits the area and there is massive destruction.

Climax: Windrider completes his airplane and everyone shows up to help him push it up the hill and watch him fly.

Falling Action: After a few minutes of flight, the plane crashes, leaving Windrider with some broken bones, but a joyful heart.

Resolution: The Company makes Windrider a partner in the business so that he can bring his wife over to America.

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 visual plot diagram of Dragonwings.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the Title, Exposition, 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 using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short description of each of the examples in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit storyboard.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/3] Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot)

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