Turning Points

Turning Points

Turning Points are defining moments in the narrative arc of a novel. Students will have the opportunity to think critically about a story, identify a key Turning Point, and build a scene that reflects the details and importance of that moment.

Duration: Two 45-minute periods

Middle School (ages 11-13)
Elementary (ages 8-10)
High School (ages 14-17)
College/University (age 18+)


English Language Arts
General Education


STEP 1 : Introduction

Discuss the concept of a Turning Point in fiction. What are Turning Points? What are some examples of Turning Points in well-known stories such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and/or Lord of the Rings? Make a list of popular turning points, taking time to respond to each suggestion. Show video clips to support the discussion and highlight the meaning of Turning Point in stories.

STEP 2 : Present the Challenge

In pairs or groups of three, students will choose a book that the class has read and identify a Turning Point in the story. They will then have the opportunity to build a scene, using littleBits and other materials, that depicts the characters and setting of their Turning Point.

STEP 3 : Brainstorm and Prototype

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As pairs or small groups, students decide upon a book, then brainstorm possible Turning Point moments in the narrative arc, making a list to keep track of their ideas. After deciding on one Turning Point, students discuss the details of the scene, paying special attention to the characters involved and setting. What will they include? How might they use the materials to build something that adequately depicts the importance of this moment? When they are ready, students begin building their first prototype.

STEP 4 : Feedback and Iteration

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Student pairs meet with another pair of students and share their thinking and project. Using the Glow and Grow feedback process, students receive encouragement and critical feedback on their design. Using this new insight, students return to their design to implement improvements.

STEP 5 : Gallery Walk and Presentation

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When projects are finished, students place their work on their desks and the class embarks on a Gallery Walk. Finally, pairs present their project to the class, taking time to explain how their project depicts their Turning Point. Alternative: Students create a video that showcases their project and includes an overview of their design process and reflection.