Much Ado About Nothing Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan after reading Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' to increase student comprehension. Students start off reading our text lesson, outlining key characters, summarizing plot, and discussing key concepts before applying ideas to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize Much Ado About Nothing
  • analyze plot and characters in Much Ado About Nothing
  • discuss elements of the story Much Ado About Nothing


1 - 1.5 hours


Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


NOTE: This lesson is for instruction after students have read Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

  • Connect students to the topic by brainstorming ten statements about societal norms concerning marriage and gender roles. Record students' points on the board.
  • Ask students to agree or disagree with these ten statements, then break students into small groups.
  • Allow groups to discuss their answers, then briefly discuss as a class.
  • Tell students these themes were explored in the play Much Ado About Nothing and have groups brainstorm examples to share.
  • Now pass out copies of the lesson Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing Summary and ask students to read the first section 'Much Ado about Much Ado.' Ask students to consider the following and discuss in groups:
    • Why are Beatrice and Benedick considered 'supporting actors?'
    • What is the 'other action' referred to in this section?
  • Allow groups to research other versions of the play. Create a class list.
  • Now have students read the section 'Characters.'
  • Ask students to decide who they would be in the play if they had to choose a character. Discuss in small groups, then as a class.
  • Have students read the 'Plot Summary' section. Discuss:
    • How does Beatrice and Benedick's bickering add entertainment to the play?
    • How do Pedro and his men trick Beatrice and Benedick?
    • Why does Don John spoil the wedding?
  • Now assign groups specific sections of the play and ask them to write three discussion questions.
  • Re-divide groups and randomly assign questions for students to answer.
  • Have students read the 'Lesson Summary,' then take the related quiz.

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