This lesson is part of series of lessons that looks at plot conflicts. My students have already learned about Character Vs Self and Character Vs Society. To review I ask them to take out their white boards and draw a line down the middle of it. On each side, I ask them to list any characteristics of both types of conflict. I want them to recall as much as possible from the other lessons.
We then discuss what they came up with and agree or disagree with each other. I am going to read them a book and I ask that they try to determine what type of conflict is in the book. The book, The Color of Us by Karen Katz, is about a little girl who discovers that the people around her are made up of all different colors. Her mom helps her discover and appreciate these colors. When I finish reading I ask them what they thought. Most of them knew that is was Character Vs Self because the little girl was learning a lesson that stemmed from her own question.
It is now time to introduce the next plot conflict. I ask them to erase their white board and on the bottom draw the plot triangle. We have been using this as our model for figuring out all of the parts of the story's plot. I quickly review each section by having them tell me what to label my triangle. After each label, I ask them to tell me what happens at this point in the plot.
I then write Character Vs Nature on the board. I ask them to tell me what "nature" is. They have some really great answers and all have to do with nature. I then ask them to put some of their ideas into a category I can write next to the word nature on the board. The class comes up with animals, plants, the earth, water, and weather. All of which are explained well and added to the board.
Having them now listen to a book that models Character Vs Nature is easy. They are ready to look for things that might be related to nature. I remind them that as I read, they need to fill in their triangles to show what parts of the book correlate to our plot triangle.
I have chosen to read Ming Lo Moves the Mountain by Arnold Lobel. The character is trying to a move a mountain to make his life better. It is a fun story and is a good one to use for character traits as well. While I read the students now are getting the hang of filling in the their plot triangles. I can tell by how many students start to fill in their triangle as I read. Some still have to wait until I am finished and ponder what might part might go where.
To wrap up the lesson I want to discuss the character of Ming Lo and also how nature played a part in the story. The class gets rolling talking about how silly the character acted and what hi struggle was with nature. Students had a more difficult time coming up with character traits that were not very basic like "nice." I prompted them often to get them to think about more complex traits.