Plot is developed through the overall structure of a story. Plot in a story can be seen as a causal sequence of events, like a chain reaction of cause and effect. Most plots (story and plot are not synonymous) typically contain these five elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Exposition: Introduces the setting and the characters where readers get to know the protagonist of the story while the plot conflict is introduced.
Rising action: The rising action occurs when the story starts to build momentum in the conflict through a series of linked causal events.
Climax: The moment of truth in the story, the climax is the turning point of the story when the character must make some sort of decision or choice about the conflict that will decide the direction of the rest of the story.
Falling action: Falling action is the sequence of events that occur after the climax as the story winds down.
Resolution: Also known as the denouement, the resolution is the part of the story where the protagonist's conflict(s) is resolved and the final details of the story are revealed.
Simply put, plot is the "what" of a book. To my elementary students I describe it several ways. First, plot is the beginning, middle, and the end of a story.
It includes several of the above mentioned elements like exposition, rising action, and climax.
From a character's point of view, the plot of the story is: the character chases a desire and overcomes adversity to achieve said desire.