flow chart

Chain Reactions – Idea File

Using video and stories, students explore how one event may trigger other events, creating a story line.

Cat and Rat video segment, found on: Storytelling Sampler
Suggested Uses:

  • Language Arts: chain reactions as story lines; examples: Horse in the Pigpen, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash
  • Music: chain reactions in songs, such as “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”

Teaching Concepts:

  • One event may trigger a chain of events that together make up a story line.

Academic Content

  • Drama: literary elements (story line or plot, characters, and story organization)
  • Creative Dramatics: role-playing, improvisation

Lesson Idea
Open: Set up dominoes and show how making one fall can knock them all down. Over several days, read picture books with plots that develop from one event. Discuss the plots of the books and how the chain reaction is used in each book.

View: Cat and Rat video segment. Discuss the events that keep Rat busy in the story.

Discuss: How a chain of events makes the story interesting.

Expand: Students create a story line or plot from one unexpected event by improvising what happens as a result of the event through storytelling or skits. Some possibilities:

  1. Rat takes Cat’s whiskers and demands cheese for their return.
  2. A student oversleeps and misses the school bus.
  3. A student accidentally trades a favorite item like a baseball card to another student.

Author: Mary Henson

See more resources for:


See more resources about:

K-12English Language Arts and LiteracyThe Arts