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

The Red Badge of Courage Plot Diagram Example


Henry Fleming, a young man of 18 years old, has finally left his farm and his mother to join the Union Army. However, his regiment largely wanders from one place to another, never really seeing combat. Henry is consumed by fears that he will run away from a true battle, and while he tries to find comfort in other soldiers, especially veterans, the worries still plague him.


While Henry fights initially, he is quickly overcome by fear as he sees many of his fellow soldiers fleeing the first battle. His friend, a loud and arrogant soldier named Wilson, also deserts the battle before it really begins. Henry turns and runs away from the battle, fleeing into the woods and plagued by fear, guilt, and shame.

Rising Action

Henry finally meets up with a wounded unit of soldiers. His tall friend Jim Conklin is among them. A tattered soldier tries to befriend Henry. Henry and the tattered soldier follow Jim into the woods, where he dies in a strange manner. Henry soon notices the weakened state of the tattered soldier and abandons him in the woods, alone and muttering to himself. Overcome by his weariness, Henry is led back to his regiment by a cheery stranger. He tells his regiment that he was shot in the head by the enemy, but the wound is from a struggle with another soldier.


Henry keeps his cowardice from his comrades and becomes a “war devil”, or a fearless soldier. The regimen is then sent to an assignment which most likely means certain death. Henry and Wilson overhear the general calling the soldiers “mule drivers”, and this fuels his and Wilson’s resolve to fight. Henry becomes the color bearer for the next battle by saving the flag from a dying color bearer.

Falling Action

The regiment squares off with rebels hiding behind a farmer’s fence. Their lines are quickly dwindling, so they realize they have to charge the fence. Henry and Wilson lock their sights on the rebel color bearer, and Wilson swoops in to grab the flag as the color bearer is killed. The Union forces win the battle, and a strange calm settles over the land.


As they are marching back to camp, Henry is again plagued by guilt for his actions on the previous day. He recalls his cowardice, his abandonment of both Jim Conklin and the tattered soldier, and it starts to cause him despair. However, he begins to see that he has made up for these mistakes in his bravery as color bearer, and he finds peace within himself for his actions.

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 Red Badge of Courage.

  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 9-10

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative Arcs

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.)

Plot Diagram Rubric (Grades 9-12)
Create a plot diagram for the story using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
25 Points
21 Points
17 Points
Try Again
13 Points
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 Red Badge of Courage

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