Lessons & Units :: Figurative Language 3rd Grade Unit

Lesson 2: Metaphors

Lesson Plan

Learning Goal
Identify metaphors and explain their meaning.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials


• “Lightning Strike” passage
• “Examples of Metaphors" handout
• “The Surprise Party II” passage
• “The Surprise Party II” answer key
• “Metaphors” worksheet

  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain the meaning of metaphors (figurative language that compares two unlike objects but does not use the words “like”, “as,” or “than”). A metaphor is a phrase or statement that describes one thing by comparing it to something else. A metaphor does not use a signal word such as “like” or “as” to make the comparison. Instead, it often states that one thing is something else. Here is an example: “My sister is a bear in the morning.” (You may use the “Examples of Metaphors” handout in Texts & Materials to present this example.) This statement is comparing my sister to a bear. It does not mean my sister is actually a bear. It means my sister is similar to a bear in the morning. I will give examples of other metaphors and identify the objects being compared and their meaning. Examples: “The snow is a blanket.” “The bread is a rock.” (You may use the “Examples of Metaphors” handout to present these examples.) I will read the passage “The Surprise Party II” (included in Texts & Materials) aloud. I will identify the metaphors in the passage and explain their meaning. For example, in the first sentence the author writes that “Grace is a loud mouth.” The author does not use the words “as” or “like,” but the author is still comparing Grace to a loud mouth. We know Grace is a person, not a mouth. The author probably means that Grace talks too loudly and too much.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I identify a metaphor in the story, and how did I figure out the metaphor’s real meaning? Students should respond that you looked for sentences that described something or someone by saying they are something else. Then you thought about the comparison and what meaning the author was trying to give the reader.

  • Guided Practice

    will reread “Lightning Strike,” identifying some of the metaphors in it. Note: There are several metaphors in the story. Challenge students to identify them as you reread the text aloud. Here are some examples:


    - The birthday group was no longer a squealing crowd. It was a bunch of mourners at a funeral.

    - His anger at Matt’s dad was electric.

    - He looked at the gutters gaping on each side of it. They were greedy mouths, just waiting to devour his ball.

  • Independent Practice

    will identify metaphors in the short passage in the “Metaphors” worksheet, what they compare, and their meaning. (The “Metaphors” worksheet is provided in Texts & Materials.)

Build Student Vocabulary charge

Tier 2 Word: charge
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story “‘AIEEEEEEE!’ he screamed, charging forward.”
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) To charge means to rush forward. If you are charging down a football field, it means that you are rushing down the football field.
Students repeat the word Say the word charge with me: charge
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts I charged around the apartment because I was late for work. I charged to catch the bus.
Students provide examples When would you charge? Start by saying, “I would charge __________________________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? charge
Additional Vocabulary Words doubt, dread

Build Student Background Knowledge

After finishing the story, explain the double meaning of the title. A “lightning strike” normally refers to lightning in a thunderstorm. This lightning is really electricity. It is the same electricity that powers lights and computers. It travels down from the clouds and hits, or “strikes,” the ground.


The word “strike” has another meaning in bowling. A strike is when the bowling ball knocks down all the pins at once.


The story’s title refers to both meanings of “strike.” Alex gets a strike when his ball knocks down all the pins. At the same time, the author is making comparisons to lightning and thunderstorms. The ball whizzing down the lane looks “like a bolt of lightning.” It hits the pins “with the sound of a thunderclap.” A lightning strike in a thunderstorm is a metaphor for Alex’s strike in bowling.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

Thank you so much

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