Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve 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 novel, 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!

For Flowers for Algernon, a character map helps students remember each member of the novel and their important traits. Since Flowers for Algernon is written in a journal format, this map also prompts students to look at Charlie’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions to himself and others.

Example Characters

Charlie Algernon
Important Traits 32 years old; has an I.Q. of 68 that is increased to 185 by an operation; emotionally immature; feels a connection to the lab mouse, Algernon, who had the same surgery; has an overwhelming desire to learn and “become smart”, which is why Miss Kinnian knows he’ll be motivated enough for the operation. White mouse with black eyes; soft like cotton; learns how to navigate an intricate maze increasingly well with his increased intelligence; at peak of his intelligence he can be hostile and throws himself against the maze’s walls instead of running the maze to get his food; regresses and dies
How Charlie Feels Charlie wants to get smart, because he feels as if there is something wrong with him. As his intelligence increases, he feels superior to those around him, but he also feels isolated and lonely. Charlie feels an affinity for Algernon, and seems to understand him. He is impressed by how smart he is. Finally, at the convention, he is so upset with how agitated Algernon is that he sets him free and brings him back to his apartment in New York City.
Quote “Burt kept saying Alice Kinnian feels he has an overwhelm** desir to lern. He aktually beggd to be used. And thats true because I wanted to be smart.” “Nemur’s conclusions had been premature. For both Algernon and myself, it would take more time to see if this change would stick. The professors had made a mistake, and no one else had caught it. I wanted to jump up and tell them, but I couldn’t move. Like Algernon, I found myself behind the mesh of the cage they had built around me.”

Template and Class Instructions

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

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in Flowers for Algernon and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the text boxes for Important Traits, How Charlie Feels, and Quote.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


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

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

Image Attributions
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