Lesson: Main Idea - Chapters 5-7

1 Favorites

Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify the main idea of a section of the story.

Lesson Plan

Objective:  Students will be able to identify the main idea of a section of the story.

Lesson Plan


Do Now (10 minutes):  Based off what has happened in the story already, what do you think was on the note that Noah found in his pocket at the end of Chapter 5??  What do you think it said? 

Opening (15 minutes):  In the short time that we have been reading “The Secret Zoo”, we have gotten a lot of information!  Someone has gone missing, clues are being found, grown ups are acting weird, and The Action Scouts have been called into duty.

Anyone ever heard of the expression “In a nutshell?”  If I said “I want you to give me all that information in a nutshell;” what do you think that means?

***Allow students to turn and talk with their partners for one minute***
Share out what they think “In a nutshell” means.

How big is a nutshell or just a nut in general?  Pretty small write?  When I say that I want you to give me all the information in a nutshell, how much information do I want?  How whole lot or a small amount?  A small amount is all I want; the amount that will fit inside a nutshell.

There is so much information given to us in a single paragraph and there are so many details to these five chapters that we have to come up with a way to synthesize them into a main idea small enough to fit into our nutshell.  We need to be experts in taking those details and condensing them, or making them smaller and more manageable.  This will help us to comprehend, what seems to be, a very complicated story line.  Let’s see if we can make sense of it all.

Direct Instruction (I DO): 

In order to get all the information from a chapter or given section into manageable pieces we only want to focus on three major details.  I am going to challenge our class to really focus on three major details in the section that I give you (which will be two chapters).  What I want you to do with those three details is make them into a main idea.  Let me show you what I mean:

Read through chapters 1 and 2 details post it notes (these should already be there from DO NOW and Homework) and put them on chart paper in a t-chart (All the Details / MOST IMPORTANT 3 DETAILS)


After reading through the details, model picking the MOST IMPORTANT 3 details from the two chapters; moving them over from one side of the t-chart to the other.  Write these on the “In a Nutshell” sheet (see attached file).

Model taking those 3 most important details and synthesizing a main idea, record the main idea on the “In a Nutshell”.

Guided Practice (WE DO):

Using Chapters 3-4, model the same process. 

Students will have the details post-its in their books already from the following night’s homework. 

Have students come to the chart paper and post their details on the “DETAILS” side.  All students should be able to put at least one detail up on the chart paper without repeating.

As students put their detail on the “Parking Lot” have them read it for the class.

Facilitate a class discussion on what details are the most important.  What does it mean to be important?  What if there is a disagreement? 

Turn and talk once the class has come to a consensus on the 3 most important details.  Using our details, how can we put all of this information “In a Nutshell?”

After 3 minutes, have students share out what they discussed in their partner groups.

Have students record the details a main idea on their “In a Nutshell” sheets. 

Independent Practice (YOU DO): 

Have students follow the same process for Chapters 5-6. 

When reading, make sure students are post-it-ing their details in their books.

Record their 3 most important and their main idea on their sheets.

Closing:  Now that we are almost finished putting all the information/details from the first 7 chapters “in a nutshell”, the last thing we have to do is take all the main ideas from each chapter set and put those in a nutshell.  Using the same process, for homework, you will be putting the main ideas in a nutshell; choosing the most important information and writing a coming up with a main idea for the first seven chapters of “The Secret Zoo”

Homework:  Have students read Chapter 7 and complete their “In a Nutshell” sheet.

Assessment:  Students will provide a main idea for the first seven chapters, In a nutshell…. (see attached file)


  • “In a Nutshell” packet
  • Multiple post-it notes for each student
  • “The Secret Zoo” – student copies
  • Chart paper
  • T-Chart (All the Details / The MOST IMPORTANT 3 DETAILS)

Lesson Resources

Lesson 36   Lesson Plan
Lesson 36 In a nutshell   Activity


Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload