4th Grade - Main Events Of The Plot

Stories and Literature
Main events of the plot
Identify the main events of the plot, their causes, and the influence of each event on future actions.
The ability to recognize or identify the main significant events of the plot, or happenings in the story. Furthermore, the ability to reason what the influential cause(s) of the events were as well as the after effect(s).

Building Blocks/Prerequisites


Sample Problems


What is a plot? (the actions or happenings of a story – a storyline)


What is a cause? (the reason something happens)


What is an effect? (the result, consequence, outcome of something happening)


What is influence? (some factor that can change something)


What are synonyms for influence? (effect, affect, power, impact, etc.)

Learning Tips


Read books or passages out loud to see if the child can predict causes and effects of the plot (humorous and/or mystery/ horror books are especially good for this purpose). Ask questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?”, “Why would that happen?”, and “What is the reason for what just happened?”


Write about causes and effects in scientific inventions and discoveries. Think about or research historical events that have forever changed society. For example:

  • What was the cause of Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin, a drug that is still used to cure disease?(He was searching for a cure for staph. Infection and found the mold on accident after returning from a two week vacation.)

  • What are the effects of Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin? It because the most effective, life-saving drug in the world because of its ability to kill many types of bacterial infections.



Look at the demo of using a circle plot diagram at http://readwritethink.org/materials/circle-plot/. Practice using a circle plot diagram (either on paper or this interactive site) with your favorite story or life event. Remember to show how causes lead to effects and those effects can lead to causes, and so on in the cyclical process.


Have a discussion about parts of stories and how the story isn’t complete without all of its parts. A story doesn’t function properly without a fully developed plot including the beginning, middle, and end. For great definitions of the parts of stories (e.g., exposition or character definition, conflict, climax, resolution, etc.) and an example of how a story is like a tasty soup with all kinds of ingredients, see this interactive website: http://www.learner.org/interactives/story/index.html.


Many children are inquisitive, especially in the 4th grade. One of their favorite questions is often, “Why?” Well, here’s your opportunity to ask them, “Why?” Start with any recent scenario and ask them why something happened to solicit the causes of the action. Then ask them, “What will happen/ did happen then?” to solicit the effects of the action. Repeat the occurrence back to them using this sentence stem: “So the causes of you ____________ were _______________ and the effects of you _____________ were _______________.” Then you can ask them what they notice about their experience – perhaps patterns involved or a lesson to be learned.

For example:

So the causes of you skateboarding on the railing were pressure from your friends and you overestimating your ability and the effects of you skateboarding on the railing were you falling, hurting your ankle, and crying to me.”

Extra Help Problems


What are synonyms for a cause? (reason, root, basis, etc.)


What are synonyms for an effect? (result, happening, consequence, outcome, etc.)


How are causes and effects related? (they have a reciprocal, sometimes cyclical relationship where one leads to another)


So can an effect from one cause also be a cause for something else? (yes, although that can be confusing, think of causes and effects like dominoes – sometimes they even make circles)


What graphic organizer can be used to show cause and effect? (Multi-flow Map, cyclical diagram)


What is foreshadowing? (predicting, forecasting, warning, etc. of something that is going to happen in the future)


What are the main events of a story? (the problem, the parts that are exciting like the climax, the solution to the problem, etc.)


How can you tell what the main events of the story are? (when the story is a “page-turner” – you can’t wait to see what happens next, when you figure out a mystery or problem in the story, etc.)


What does subsequent mean? (following, later, succeeding, etc.)


What is another term for the problem in the story? (conflict)


What is another term for the solution in the story? (resolution)


What is the exposition of a story? (the background information of the characters – details about their personalities, lives, appearances, etc.)


What sequential part of the story can you usually find the exposition? (beginning)


What is the conflict of a story? (problem(s) faced by the character(s))


What different types of conflicts are there in stories? (problems between characters, between a character and nature, or between a character and their self)


What sequential part of the story can you usually find the conflict? (middle)


What is the climax of a story? (the most exciting part of the story; the “turning point” of the story when the storyline changes for better or worse)


What sequential part of the story can you usually find the climax? (towards the end)


What is the solution of a story? (how the problem(s) is/are solved – what happens to the characters after the conflicts are solved)


What sequential part of the story can you usually find the solution? (end)



Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC