Activity Overview

A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures. Sometimes students will really have to think carefully about which events are major turning points in the plot.

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. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the book in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Mr. Popper's Penguins Plot Diagram Example


Mr. Popper is a house painter in the town of Stillwater. Mr. Popper is a dreamy sort of man who likes to think about exploring far off places. Admiral Drake, to whom Mr. Popper had sent a letter, sends a penguin as a gift. The penguin's name is Captain Cook and sleeps in the ice box.


The cost of keeping the penguin is very high. The Poppers are not a wealthy family, but they care for Captain Cook. He does not seem to be doing well after a while, so Mr. Popper contacts an aquarium. They decide that the penguin is lonely and needs a companion. This second penguin, Greta arrives, and Mr. Popper installs a freezing machine, which strains the family budget even more.

Rising Action

Greta lays ten eggs! Usually, penguins don't lay that many, but extraordinary things happen in extraordinary circumstances. Now there will be twelve penguin mouths to feed!


The Poppers are having such a hard time paying for all of their expenses that Mr. Popper decides to train the penguins for performance. The Poppers and the penguins perform at various cities around the country. One day, they arrive at the wrong theater, and the theater owner has them all arrested for “disturbing the peace.”

Falling Action

Admiral Drake arrives and posts bail for Mr. Popper. Also, a Hollywood movie man offers to feature the penguins in the movies. Fearing that life in Hollywood would be too much for the penguins, Mr. Popper declines.


Springtime is coming and the warm weather is not good for the penguins. Admiral Drake, Mr. Popper, and the penguins travel to the North Pole on an expedition to establish a penguin colony.

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 visual plot diagram of Mr. Popper's Penguins.

  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-5

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/3/2] Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/3/5] Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.


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

Event Arch Rubric
Create a visual Event Arch that summarizes the story. The storyboard should have six cells: Introduction, Problem, Events, Climax, Problem is Resolved, and Conclusion. Below each cell, type in a description of that part of the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Cells include images that help to tell the story and do not get in the way of understanding. Descriptions match the images.
Descriptions do not always match the images.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Each of the six cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
Two cells or fewer are out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or three or more cells are out of order.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.

More Storyboard That Activities

Mr. Popper's Penguins

*(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)
© 2021 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.