Activity Overview

Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop a 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. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet Plot Diagram Example

Exposition / Conflict

Lolly lives with his mother in St. Nicholas Housing Projects in Harlem, NYC. His best friend Vega lives in an apartment nearby and is someone Lolly can always count on especially in supporting Lolly after the sudden and tragic death of his older brother, Jermaine. Lolly's parents are divorced and his father has not been around much. Knowing that he has been struggling with his grief, Lolly's mother's girlfriend Yvonne gifts him two big garbage bags full of Legos for Christmas. 

Rising Action

Lolly attends an after school program. There, he talks with the director, Mr. Ali, who is a social worker that helps Lolly process his grief. Mr. Ali allows Lolly to build his Lego creations in an empty storage room and Lolly looks forward to escaping there to his make believe world Harmoee. One day Mr. Ali allows Rose, who struggles socially due to her autism, come to the storage room and build alongside Lolly using his Legos. At first, Lolly resents her invading his sanctuary and challenges her to a tower building contest, which ends in a tie.

Climax / Turning Point

Lolly and Rose communicate through their love of architecture. Rose is grieving the loss of her mother to suicide. Unfortunately, the storage room is going to be repurposed. Before they dismantle their worlds, they have a display for the community. Lolly makes it onto the news! He sees that he might have a future as an artist. One evening, Lolly and Vega get jumped by gang members who have been harassing them. Lolly‘s phone and Vega's jacket are stolen and both boys are badly beaten up.

Falling Action

The attack leaves both boys angry and hurt but Lolly has his Legos and his dreams of becoming an artist to escape to. Vega is disillusioned and so angry that he begins thinking of joining a gang and seeking revenge. He even procures a gun. Lolly is able to talk Vega out of pursuing revenge and the two boys throw the gun into the river. They don't want to go down the same tragic path as Lolly's brother Jermaine.


The story ends with Lolly realizing that even though he will always miss his brother, he can find positive ways channel his grief and can keep Jermaine's memory alive by talking to him and seeking help when he needs it from the positive influences around him. Lolly says the people you are friends with can either lift you up higher or bring you down low. He realizes that your choices are what make you who you are.

Template and Class Instructions

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

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual plot diagram for The Stars Beneath Our Feet.

Student Instructions:

  1. Separate the story into the Title, Exposition, 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 using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/6/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/5] Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.


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

Plot Diagram Rubric
Create a visual Plot Diagram that summarizes the story. The storyboard should have six cells: Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. 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.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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