How setting affects the plot of a story

How setting affects the plot of a story

I can identify a story's setting and explain how it affects the plot.

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How setting affects the plot of a story

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In this lesson, students learn how the setting of a story can play an important and active role. They will read several passages and discuss how different settings can change a story’s plot. In the end, students will choose a setting and write their own short stories.

Common core standards


Learning Objective

Students will be able to analyze how particular elements of a story interact, specifically how the setting shapes the plot.


Students will brainstorm what they think might happen in a particular setting shown on the board. Then they will look at another setting and discuss how those actions might change. Have students think about their current setting. What might happen next? How might their experiences change in a different setting? Review what a setting is: time, weather and environment, and place, and share some examples.


Read a passage from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Students then use the pencil tool to underline or highlight the words and phrases that describe the setting. Repeat this exercise with a passage from Anton Chekhov’s The Schoolmistress. Next, review what the plot of a story is and discuss how the setting can greatly impact a story’s plot by providing foreshadowing, flashbacks, and creating conflicts. Have students discuss what a story would be like in different settings like New York City in 1820 and the Rocky Mountains in 2022. Present students with a general story idea. Then students will spin the spinner to land on a setting, and discuss how this story would be different in each setting. Students then think of a conflict that could naturally occur in different settings like at a middle school dance or on a ship.


Students respond to 10 questions in which they identify story elements.


Students will choose a setting from the previous activity and write an appropriate short story.

Read our blog post to learn more about reading comprehension exercises!

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