Activity Overview

A common use for Storyboard That is for students to create a diagram showing the five act structure of a play. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of plot, but it also reinforces major actions from the play, helping students develop a greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create and show a storyboard that captures the concept of the Five Act Structure by making a five-cell storyboard, like the one below. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the acts in order: Prologue, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.

Example The Crucible Five Act Structure

Act 1: Prologue

The play takes place in Salem, MA

A young girl, Betty, is in a coma-like state. Her father, Reverend Parris, is minister to the town of Salem. It is revealed that a group of young girls led by Parris' slave, Tituba, were dancing and doing voodoo in the woods. A townsman named John Proctor enters; it is clear that he can see through the lies of the girls, who are now claiming they know who in town has signed the Devil's black book. The audience is made aware that Proctor once had an affair with Abigail (Parris' niece). Parris decides that he should call Reverend Hale, a witchcraft expert.

Act 2: Conflict/Rising Action

Reverend Hale begins to place anyone who the girls name on trial for witchcraft. It is clear to the audience that no one is conspiring with the Devil in town. Instead, it is Abigail who is controlling the younger girls so that they do not get in trouble. Abigail speaks to Proctor again, in hopes of rekindling their relationship. Proctor snubs her. Abigail accuses John's wife Elizabeth and goes as far as having evidence planted in their home.

Act 3: Climax

In an attempt to uncover the deception of the young girls, John Proctor brings Mary Warren to testify that Abigail is lying to the court. However, the girls turn on Mary and say that she is being bewitched by Proctor. Both he and his wife are then arrested.

Act 4: Falling Action

Parris, Hale, and Judge Danforth attempt to get the prisoners to confess. Some do so to avoid death, while others firmly deny that they are not witches to preserve their reputation. Abigail has robbed Parris and run away. In a final attempt to uncover the truth, Proctor confesses his adultery to the court. However, when they ask Elizabeth Proctor, she lies to protect her husband's honor and she says it's not true. This results in John Proctor's death.

Act 5: Denouement

In the end, Parris is voted out of office. A rumor that Abigail became a prostitute in Boston circulates throughout Salem. Elizabeth Proctor remarries, and the farms of the executed go untended for years.

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 The Crucible.

  1. Separate the play into the Prologue/Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the acts.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 11-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: The Five Act Play (Dramatic Structure)

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [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/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise


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

Five Act Structure Rubric (Grades 9-12)
Create a plot diagram for the play using Prologue/Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Try Again
Descriptive and Visual Elements
Cells have many descriptive elements, and provide the reader with a vivid representation.
Cells have many descriptive elements, but flow of cells may have been hard to understand.
Cells have few descriptive elements, or have visuals that make the work confusing.
Cells have few or no descriptive elements.
Textables have three or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have four or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have five or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have six or more spelling/grammar errors.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has done both peer and teacher editing.
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has either teacher or peer editing, but not both.
Student has done neither peer, nor teacher editing.
Work shows no evidence of any effort.
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram.
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram, but one or more is confusing.
Parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot difficult to follow.
Almost all of the parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot very difficult to follow.

More Storyboard That Activities

The Crucible

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