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The Monsters are Due on Maple Street Activities

I remember reading this story as a play in middle school. I was captivated by the ending, and it has stayed with me ever since. The Monsters are Due on Maple Street is a great tool for teaching themes, lessons, and morals in the classroom. This lesson plan is designed to generate creativity and discussion around what happens when human nature gets out of hand.

Student Activities for The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

Essential Questions for The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

  1. How can fear control you?
  2. What causes modern day mass hysteria?
  3. How do dire situations cause people to act out of character?
  4. Do you believe that psychological warfare is more dangerous than conventional weapons? Why?

Synopsis of The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street was originally an episode of the 1960s television show The Twilight Zone. Later, the episode was made into a graphic novel. The story deals with human nature and paranoia.

The story begins on quiet, suburban Maple Street. A shadow passes over, accompanied by a flash of light, a whooshing sound, and then a power outage. Immediately, people are in the streets speculating, and the idea of extraterrestrial visitors is mentioned. One resident, Peter, volunteers to take a look around. The characters believe that the aliens could be living as a family in the neighborhood who appear human. Hysteria takes hold, and residents start to accuse their neighbors. Everyone is a suspect, and the neighborhood is growing uneasy.

Panic of monsters steadily builds until, one night, a shadowy figure appears. Charlie, a main character, grabs a shotgun, and shoots the shadow in fear. Unfortunately, it is Peter Van Horn, returning from his scouting mission. He dies instantly. Suddenly, the lights in Charlie's house come on, and he panics as the crowd begins accusing him of being both a murderer and the monster responsible for the power being out. A witch hunt begins, and the neighborhood turns into an angry mob. Terrified residents produce weapons, a riot breaks out, and fear drives residents to shoot each other.

The ending scene reveals that the object that had flown overhead was indeed an alien spaceship. Alien observers watch the riot on Maple Street knowing they created the mass hysteria through the manipulation of the power. In the end, the residents of Maple Street were the real monsters. The aliens conclude that conquering Earth will be easy; the humans will destroy themselves.

Don’t Let the Fun Stop There! Check Out Other The Monsters are Due Activity Ideas

  1. Show specific causes and effects from the story in a storyboard.
  2. Use a storyboard to show how mass hysteria could start in your own classroom.
  3. Create a storyboard that helps learn new vocabulary words with Visual Vocabulary.

Buy The Monsters are Due on Maple Street on Amazon

How To Convey the Main Lesson in Monsters Are Due on Maple Street


Read the Story Carefully

Ask the students to read the story carefully once in class and once at home to find out the hidden lessons present in the story. Students can divide the book into sections and then highlight some main points from each section for discussion in the class.


Identify Themes

Once students become more familiar with the story and the intricacies of the text, encourage them to identify the main themes present in the narrative. Themes are connected with the main lesson and shape the development of the narrative. Students can list down as many themes as they can identify and later segregate them into major and minor themes.


Discuss the Fragility of the Society

The story demonstrates how readily society's fabric may unravel in the face of uncertainty or peril. Encourage the students to think about how this cover of the society is more delicate than it appears. It is important that teachers provide some background information and though provoking questions for students to understand these complex ideas and lessons.


Make Connection With Real-Life

Discuss historical events or present circumstances where comparable dynamics of fear, scapegoating, and division have played out. Create parallels to assist students comprehend the story's message. Students can perform some background research on the author to understand how he created this parallel between the fictional world and the real world.


Give Writing Assignments

Students should prepare essays or thoughts on the story's key lesson. In order to support their analysis, ask them to cite specific examples from the story. This analysis can include author’s intent, how this message has impacted the society, and why these lessons are important to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street by Rod Serling

When was "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" first broadcast?

The episode debuted on March 4, 1960, as part of the inaugural season of "The Twilight Zone." Later, this episode was converted into a graphic novel.

What is the central theme of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"?

The story serves as a cautionary tale on the risks of paranoia, scapegoating, and social order's fragility. It demonstrates how fear and suspicion may lead to the disintegration of a community. All these themes shed some light upon the important aspects of the society and how humans intend to deal with these issues.

Who are the main characters of the story?

While the episode has multiple characters, Charlie Farnsworth, played by actor Claude Akins, stands out as a particularly paranoid and belligerent inhabitant who adds to the turmoil. Besides him, Peter Van Horn also plays an important role in the development of the narrative.

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