Aliens Are Coming! Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Imagine what it would be like if all you had for entertainment in your home was a radio! Now imagine that you heard over that radio that the planet was being invaded by aliens! We'll get to imagine both in this lesson as we read ''Aliens Are Coming!'' by Meghan McCarthy.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain what it is like to listen to a radio show
  • Create a radio show


55-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.


Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.


Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. Note:This lesson focuses on the use of sound.


  • Copy of the book, Aliens Are Coming! by Meghan McCarthy
  • A sheet or portable wall (some way to section off a portion of the classroom)


Begin by introducing the book.

  • Discuss the title and ask students to predict what they think the story might be about.
  • Identify the author/illustrator.
  • Talk about the book cover and what hints it might have about the story.

Next, give a little background.

  • Talk about what a radio is.
  • Explain that there was time before televisions and Internet (and video games) when all people had for entertainment in their homes was a radio. Whole families would sit and listen to radio shows together.
  • Tell the class that back in 1938, a radio broadcaster named Orson Welles shocked the world with his broadcast about an alien invasion. Because there was no television or Internet or any way of verifying his story back then, many people believed the news and some even began to panic.

Now, read the book aloud to the class. As you read the portions that are actual snippets from the original broadcast, use a deeper voice to mimic Orson Welles. Stop at the appropriate times to discuss:

  • What do you think you would have done if you had been listening to this broadcast?
  • Why do you think so many people thought it was real?
  • The book talks about ''operators'' being flooded with phone calls. What was an operator?
  • What types of sound effects do you think the actors added to the broadcast to make it sound so real?
  • What did you think about the way Orson Welles ended his broadcast (with the line about it being Halloween)?
  • How do you think people reacted when they found out the whole thing was make-believe?

Group Activity

To allow students the experience of listening to the radio as something exciting was happening, use the following group activity.

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