Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Consequences of Time Travel

Analyzing Short Stories

Chelsee Wilson, Chelsee Wilson | Published: September 6th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course American Literature
  • Time Frame Time Frame 180 minutes
  • Duration More 2-3 class periods


This lesson, used in conjunction with Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder," guides students to determine their own definitions for cause, effect, and foreshadowing, find examples of these concepts in the text, and create a brochure based on the story's fictional Time Travel, Inc. This lesson includes optional modifications for distance learning. Resources for use in Google Classroom are included.

Essential Question(s)

How can the actions of one person affect others? 



Students participate in an Always, Sometimes, or Never True activity about statements related to the theme of Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder."


Students brainstorm pop culture examples of time travel gone wrong and define the terms cause, effect, and foreshadowing.


Students read "A Sound of Thunder" and use Why-Lighting to identify instances of cause, effect, and foreshadowing.


Students draw from the story's text to create brochures for Time Travel, Inc.


Students turn in their brochures and revisit their Always, Sometimes, or Never True analysis.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Copies of the short story "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury (linked in narrative below)

  • Always, Sometimes, or Never True handouts (attached; one per student)

  • I Think, We Think handouts (optional, attached; one per student)

  • Time Travel Brochure Rubric (optional, attached)

  • Why-Lighting Chart (attached; one per student)

  • Highlighters

  • Pencils and paper

  • Art supplies (paper, markers, colored pencils, etc.)

  • Student devices with internet access (optional)


Use the attached Lesson Slides that accompany the instruction. Begin with slide 2. Briefly read aloud the essential question: How can the actions of one person affect others? Then, move to slide 3 and go over the lesson's learning objectives.

Move to slide 4. Pass out a copy of the attached Always, Sometimes, or Never True handout to each student. Introduce students to the Always, Sometimes, or Never True strategy. Have students read through each of the five statements on the handout, and then label them as "always true," "sometimes true," or "never true." Underneath each statement, ask students to explain their reasoning for why they chose each label.

Once students have had time to work, go through each statement and invite students to share out which label they chose and why.


Move to slide 5 and ask students if they have ever read a book or watched a movie that included time travel. If so, ask students if they remember the characters having any time-related issues during their adventures. Give students an opportunity to consider these questions and then ask for a few volunteers to share out their examples.

Move to slide 8. Pass out a copy of the attached I Think, We Think graphic organizer to each student, or have students get out a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns labeled "I Think," "We Think," and "Examples." Introduce students to the I Think/We Think strategy to be used in the next activity.

Ask students to consider the following terms:

  • Cause

  • Effect

  • Foreshadowing

Invite students to formulate their own definitions of these terms, writing the definitions in their own words in the "I Think" column.

Move to slide 9. Organize students into small groups and have group members take turns sharing their definitions. After everyone has shared, ask students to come up with a group definition for each term and write the definitions in the "We Think" column.

Move to slide 10 and ask groups to brainstorm examples of cause, effect, and foreshadowing and list these in the "Example" column.

After groups negotiate their definitions and examples, ask a few groups to share out. Based on what they share, develop class definitions for each term. Write these definitions on the whiteboard or another location where they're visible to the whole class.


Move to slide 11 and give each student three different colors of highlighter and a copy of the short story "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. As they read this story, students should keep in mind their definitions from the previous activity and use Why-Lighting to highlight instances of foreshadowing, cause, and effect.

After students have had time to read and highlight the story, move to slide 12. Pass out a copy of the attached Why-Lighting Chart graphic organizer to each student. In this graphic organizer, students will indicate what they highlighted in the first column, label it as "cause," "effect," or "foreshadowing" in the second column, and provide a short reasoning for their choice in the third column.

When students are finished, ask for volunteers to share out examples of each type of structure (cause, effect, and foreshadowing) that they identified and their reasoning for doing so.


Move to slide 13 and invite students to use the information that they highlighted to create a brochure for the Time Travel, Inc. company that was patronized by Eckels in the story. The brochure should include the following:

  • The company's title

  • A summary of the services

  • Three or more rules with rationale for each

  • Consequences for breaking the rules

  • Artwork to market the company

Provide students with paper, markers, colored pencils, and other art supplies to create their brochures.


Move to slide 14 and ask students to return to their Always, Sometimes, or Never True handout from the beginning of the lesson. Ask them to re-evaluate their responses and make any changes that they would like now that they have read the short story.

Allow time for students to share out their thoughts about the statements if they changed their responses.

You might choose to have students submit their brochures for an assessment for this lesson. These brochures can be graded using the attached Time Travel Brochure Rubric. Alternatively, consider creating a class rubric using student input.