Standards Correlations

R.1, R.3, R.4, R.6, R.7, W.3, SL.1, SL.2, L.4, L.6 

Learning Objective

Students will make inferences from a play based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Key Skills

inference, text features, vocabulary, elements of fiction, compare and contrast, cause and effect, interpreting text, critical thinking, author’s craft, narrative writing

Complexity Factors

Levels of Meaning: The play includes themes of prejudice, loneliness, and revenge.

Structure: The play is told in eight scenes and has a prologue. 

Language: The play uses short sentences and simple words. 

Knowledge Demands: The play is set in the 1800s and is science fiction.


Guided Reading Level: R

DRA Level: 40

Lesson Plan: Frankenstein

Essential Questions

  • How much do we judge others by how they look?
  • How can scientific experiments do both good and harm?

Literature Connection

Picture Book: Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Julia Sarda
Novel: Strange Star by Emma Carroll

1. Preparing to Read 

Preview Text Features (5 minutes)

Guide students to read the story’s title and subtitle. Then ask the following questions: 

  • Read the title and subtitle on pages 18-19. Who wrote the novel Frankenstein? What do you know about Frankenstein? Mary Shelley wrote the novel. Students may say that they know Frankenstein is about a monster made up of various body parts stitched together. (Note: A common misperception is that Frankenstein IS the monster. Frankenstein is the scientist who creates the monster.)
  • Based on the illustrations across pages 18-22, how would you describe the mood of this story? Use details from the illustrations to support your answer. Students may say that the mood is spooky, creepy, scary, or dark. Supporting details include: dark, shadowy images and lightning bolts.

Build Background Knowledge (5 minutes)

As a class, view the video “Beyond the Story: Frankenstein”. Ask students what they find most interesting about the video.

Preview Vocabulary (10 minutes)

  • Point out the vocabulary box on page 20. Read and discuss the words (laboratory, disgust, lumbers, guardian angel, strangled) and their definitions. 
  • Play the Vocabulary Slideshow.

Set a Purpose for Reading (5 minutes)

Before students start to read, walk them through a reading plan:

  • Set a purpose for reading by telling students they’ll make inferences while reading Frankenstein. Explain that making an inference means using clues from the text to figure out something that isn’t stated.
  • Point out the activity on page 23. Tell students they will complete it after reading the play. 

2. Reading and Unpacking the Text

• Assign roles to students, and read the play aloud as a class. Stop after each scene and ask students to summarize what happened. 
• After reading, discuss the following close-reading and critical-thinking questions. 

Close-Reading Questions (15 minutes)

  • How does Victor react when the creature comes alive? How does Mr. De Lacey react to the creature when first meeting him? Why do you think they react differently? (compare and contrast) Victor reacts with disgust. He calls the creature “the ugliest thing I have ever seen.” De Lacey treats the creature with kindness. He lets him into his house and tells him that he sounds like “a very nice person.” The two men react differently to the creature because one can see him and the other can’t. Victor reacts to the monster’s looks; De Lacey gets to know him.
  • Why does the creature kill Victor’s brother, William? Why does he kill Victor’s wife, Elizabeth? (cause and effect) The creature kills William out of anger. He approaches William to make friends. When William calls him a monster, he becomes angry. He kills Elizabeth for revenge. Victor promises to make a friend for the creature but then changes his mind. The creature kills Elizabeth to get back at Victor.
  • What does the creature mean when he says, “The world fed me hate, and hate filled me up”? (interpreting text) The creature means that he’s full of hate because people treated him with hate. For example, Victor runs from him in Scene 1, the villagers call him “ugly” in Scene 2, and De Lacey’s kids hit him and scream at him in Scene 3.

Critical-Thinking Questions (10 minutes)

  • What role do you think Victor plays in the crimes committed by the creature? Do you hold him responsible? (critical thinking) Sample answer: Victor plays a big role in the crimes committed by the creature since he creates him and doesn’t do much to stop him. He has the chance to make a friend for the creature and send them both far away. But he destroys the friend’s body, fueling the creature’s anger.(Students may also say that Victor is not to blame for the creature’s actions. He is a mere victim of the monster’s evil crimes. He is right not to create a second monster.)
  • Which details from the story show that the monster Victor creates is ugly and scary? (Hint: Look at the adjectives and verbs the author uses to describe how the creature looks, moves, and speaks.) (author’s craft) The author describes the creature as being 8 feet tall. His eyes are yellow, and his skin is pale. The creature doesn’t talk but rather grunts (“Aaaaarrrgh!”). He moves in an awkward, clumsy way: He stumbles toward Victor and lumbers over to a group of people in the village. 
  • Frankenstein was written in 1818. Why do you think the story is still well-known today? (critical thinking) Sample answer: Frankenstein tells the story of a creature that feels unloved and does horrible things. Maybe the feeling of being unloved and acting in ways that you regret later is one that people can relate to in any time period. The fact that the story involves the creation of a human-like monster, with spooky elements, probably also makes it a fun read. 

3. Skill Building

  • Have students complete the inference activity on page 23.
  • As a class, examine the play’s characters, setting, and plot with our Elements of Fiction Skill Builder. (Click here to see all your Skill Builders.)
  • Writing prompt: Imagine you are Victor Frankenstein, writing in your science journal the day you create the creature. Explain what you did to put together the monster, how it came alive, and how you feel about your experiment. 

Learn-Anywhere Activity

An enrichment activity to extend the learning journey at home or in the classroom

Put the Creature on Trial.

The play raises some interesting questions. For instance, when someone commits a crime, is that person the only one who should be punished? Might other people be responsible too? And if so, is it even possible that the criminal isn’t really at fault?

Have a trial to decide whether Frankenstein’s monster is responsible for the murders he committed. Two students can be lawyers, one can be a judge (to settle disputes), some can  act as the jury, and a few can be witnesses (Victor Frankenstein, the creature, Mr. De Lacey, etc.). Once everyone has gone over the facts of the case, each lawyer can explain why the creature should or should not be blamed for his actions and call witnesses to give evidence. Then the jury can decide the creature’s fate. Have fun!

ELL Springboard

Give interpreting text an artistic twist.

The play describes a terrifying monster but never actually shows an illustration of him in great detail. Ask students to use details from the play to draw (and color, if colored pencils are available) the monster.

First, ask students to point out physical details mentioned in the play:

  • The monster is 8 feet tall.
  • He has yellow eyes.
  • His skin is pale.
  • He is stitched together from various body parts collected over time.

Then, ask everyone to draw the monster and label his defining characteristics, both those mentioned in the play as well as those that came from the students’ own imagination.

Looking for more ELL support? Download our full lesson plan and scroll to p. 4 to find questions that will help your ELLs respond to the text at the level that’s right for them.

Print This Lesson Plan