Our Antagonist lesson plan develops students’ reading comprehension as they learn to define an antagonist and identify examples from stories, books, movies, and TV shows. They will also learn about protagonists.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to assign each student a popular short story and have them identify the antagonist, main character, and problems in their story, sharing their findings with the class.

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What our Antagonist lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Antagonist helps develop reading comprehension as students learn to define an antagonist and identify examples from stories, books, movies, or TV shows. The students will also learn to write a short story which includes an antagonist. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade and 4th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the blue box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, the only supplies you will need are the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can find a short video clip to show students at the beginning of the lesson and copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One of the optional adjustments that you can make to this lesson is to switch the homework and practice worksheets. For the practice worksheet, you could provide additional photos for students to use to identify the protagonist, antagonist, and problem. You can also assign each student a popular short story and have them identify the antagonist, main character, and problems in their story, sharing their findings with the class.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. It notes that it might be a good idea to pair this lesson with a lesson about defining and identifying protagonists. This page also includes space that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.



The Antagonist lesson plan includes two pages of content. The lesson begins with a story about a dog interrupting you as you try to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is an example of a short story with two characters, you and the dog. In this story, because the dog is preventing you from achieving your goal of making a sandwich, the dog is the antagonist. An antagonist is a person or thing in a story that goes against the protagonist of the story. A protagonist is the main character in a story.

Next, the lesson goes over a few things you should know about antagonists. The first is that an antagonist is a character or thing that goes against or opposes the protagonist. The antagonist could be a person, a force of nature, an imaginary character, an animal or something else! Antagonists put obstacles, challenges, or other barriers between the protagonist and their goal. A second important thing to know about antagonists is that they’re not always a bad person or thing. For example, the dog in the example at the beginning of the lesson isn’t a bad thing, but it is still preventing the protagonist from attaining their goal. The third thing to note is that all kinds of stories, from TV shows to movies to plays to comic books have antagonists.

In the original example, the dog prevents the main character from making their sandwich by putting obstacles in their way. This could cause the main character to change their plans. The dog is the antagonist because it’s going against the wishes or desires of the main character.

Steps in Identifying the Antagonist

The next section of the lesson describes the three steps you can take to identify the antagonist. First, you must identify the main character of the story. This character is called the protagonist, and the story would not exist without them. Second, you must decide what character, force, person, or action is working against the protagonist. This person or thing is the antagonist! Third, you must understand that while the “good” character is often the protagonist and the “bad” character is often the antagonist, this is not always true. Sometimes, the protagonist of a story can be a bad person, and vice versa.

The lesson then provides examples of some well-known antagonists, along with the main character or protagonist of the stories they are in. These example antagonists include Voldemort, the Roadrunner cartoon, and Darth Vader. All of these examples are antagonists who cause problems for or work against the protagonists in their stories. You can also have multiple antagonists in one story, or have the antagonist be a natural disaster, like a hurricane or tornado! An antagonist can be anything or anyone who causes problems for the protagonist.


The Antagonist lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete the activity worksheet. They will first decide who will be the main character of the story they will write. They will work together to write a story that is at least 12 sentences long, includes details, and is written correctly. The student who is the main character will first write one or two sentences, beginning the story. The other student, the antagonist, will then write one or two sentences about the problems they will cause for the main character. The students will continue trading off, writing a few sentences at a time, until the story is complete.


For the practice worksheet, students will look at pictures and create basic stories for them. For each picture, they will write down the main character, the problem, and the antagonist. The lesson provides an example for students to reference.


The homework assignment asks students to read a story and answer six reading comprehension questions about it. Some of the questions include “Who is the main character of the story?” and “Who is/are the antagonist(s) in the short story?”.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes an answer key for the homework assignment. No answer keys are provided for the activity and practice worksheets as students’ answers will vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade


Reading, Video

State Educational Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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