What's the Setting, Anyway?

Contributor: Jessica Buch. Lesson ID: 10318

It was a dark, lonely, cold night on a faraway planet. The astronaut was looking for a way home but the spaceship needed to refuel. What's the setting at the beginning of the story? Want to read more?



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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It was cold. The air was dry, and it smelled like dirt. The astronauts were nervous. Would they ever get home?

This is the beginning of a story about a long trip.

  • Where do you think the story will take place?
  • Would you want to read more?
  • The setting is an element of a story that describes where the story takes place.

It might be a city, the country, or a neighborhood. It could also be a park, a school, or the beach. The setting is anywhere the characters and action are. It can also include time and when the story took place.

Let's try to figure out where and when the events in a few short passages are taking place in this fun activity. Pay attention to all the little hints in each passage as they will help you to discover the setting.

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Sometimes, authors give us hints, or context clues, to tell us more about the setting. This helps us understand the story better and make connections.

  • For example, if an author is talking about pumpkins and making pumpkin pie, is the story taking place in spring or in the fall?

Check your understanding of the types of clues authors give by becoming the author!

Take a look at each of the images below and write a description of when and where it was taken. Think about the season, the time period (is it in the past, the present or the future?), where was it taken? Is it in the United States? Is it at a beach, or perhaps in the desert? How do you know?

Be descriptive and give your reader clues about the setting of each picture:

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When you have finished writing your descriptions, read them out loud to a friend or family member and see if they can determine which picture you are describing.

Before moving to the next section, take a moment to think about what details about the setting of a story add to your reading experience.

What would it be like if a story didn't have a setting?

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