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https://www.storyboardthat.com/lesson-plans/the-pit-and-the-pendulum-by-edgar-allan-poe/dilemma

Activity Overview


Often in literature, characters have to make important choices, even when the outcomes are equally unpleasant. This is called a dilemma, and many students will be able to identify with being stuck “between a rock and a hard place”, much like characters are in their various conflicts in a story. Have students analyze the dilemma the narrator encounters in “The Pit and the Pendulum” as they read and speculate on the potential outcomes of the narrator’s choices. Have them incorporate their findings into a storyboard like the example below.


Introduction

The narrator has escaped from the pendulum, but he sees that at the moment of his escape, the pendulum stops swinging and is drawn back up to the ceiling. He knows that he is being watched now. He begins to notice the red-hot smell of the burning walls, and the movement of the walls as they change the shape of the chamber. He is afraid of the pit, but embracing the walls will also kill him.


Problem 1

If the narrator tries to push back against the walls or run into them, he will die, but he won’t die by falling into a dark pit.


Problem 2

If the narrator allows the walls to push him toward the pit, ultimately he will have no other choice but to fall over the side.


Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Dilemmas

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/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


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 storyboard that analyzes a dilemma that a character is facing in "The Pit and the Pendulum".


  1. Identify the problem and depict it in the "Introduction" cell.
  2. Show and discuss the character's possible choices under "Problem 1" and "Problem 2".
  3. Save and submit the assignment.



Rubric

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



Dilemma Rubric
Exemplary
25 Points
Proficient
21 Points
Commendable
17 Points
Try Again
13 Points
Choice of Scenes
Accurately depicts the scenes that show the character's main dilemma.
Mostly depicts the scenes that show the character's main dilemma.
Vaguely depicts the scenes that show the character's main dilemma.
Barley or does not depict the scenes that show the character's main dilemma.
Captions
Captions are accurately related to the dilemma and story. The connections are very easy to understand.
Captions are mostly related to the dilemma and story. The connections are easy to understand.
Captions are vaguely related to the dilemma and story. The connections are not easy to understand.
Captions do not relate well to the scenes, or are not related to the dilemma and story. The connections are very hard to understand.
Characters
The main characters are accurately and clearly identified. Their actions are well matched to their actions in the story.
The main characters are mostly clear and identified. Their actions are mostly matched to their actions in the story.
The main characters are vaguely defined or identified. Their actions are somewhat matched to their actions in the story
The main characters are lacking clarity or are not identified. Their actions are poorly matched to the story.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar
There are no spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors.
There are some spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors.
There are many spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors.
There are too many spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors.




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