Lesson Plan

Compare and Contrast

Teaching students to compare and contrast texts or items
Lisa B.
Classroom teacher
Alexander Valley School
Healdsburg, CA
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My Grades 2
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to... 

  • Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.9 )
  • Create a Venn Diagram or double bubble thinking map
  • Compare and contrast two or more different things.
English Language Arts
Grades 1 - 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Share a video about comparing and contrasting. I found a video using candy bars. You can find it here. Another way to introduce without using technology is with realia. Bring in real candy bars and have the students figure out how to sort them! The nice thing about using SchoolTube is that you can also show videos done by kids. Then you can let them know they can make their own in the wrap up!

2 Direct Instruction

This website has weath of information abotu comparing and contsting. It has lesson plans for 3rd-12th grade and lots of help in writing a compare and contrast essay.

However for 2nd grade, I use the compare and contrast guide. This interactive guide (mostly like a powerpoint)  explains what compare and constrast means and dives concrete examples. You can transition from the guide into the form of a Venn diagram or thinking map double bubble to sort inforamtion about your topic.

3 Guided Practice

Now, some classes are transition away from a Venn Diagram and towards Thinking Maps and use a double bubble instead. If you would rather teach with a double bubble, you can go right to Popplet or use another mind map website like https://bubbl.us/. This app helps students make a straightforward Venn Diagram. The teacher needs to provide the instruction about what do for the compare and contrast. If you have previously read two versions of a story, like a fairy tale, this is a good way to compare and contrast the two versions. Twisted tales like True Story of the Three LIttle Pigs is great! I would have the students work in pairs to create one together. If you have an ipad,  you can use mirroring on AirPlay to a Mac latop to share it out with the class. An additional challenge could be making a 3 circle Venn Diagram.

4 Independent Practice

Free to Try, Paid

Use Popplet to create their own graphic organizer. They can create a double bubble map to compare and contrast. It can get as big as needed and the bubbles can be moved easily unlike using paper and pencil. This app (or website) allows them to type, draw and add pictures to show the similarities and differences. Once the Popplet is complete they can email the link, put it in Dropbox, or save it has a JPEG.

5 Wrap-Up

Educreations can be used as an extension activity. The students can take what they made in Popplet (or the Venn diagram if the independent practice was too difficult for them) and explain it using the audio option in this app. You can save the Popplet as a JPEG right to your photos. It is then easy enough to retrieve in this app. The student can then explain their reasoning for making the Venn diagram or double bubble and use the drawing feature to explain as well. Once they have created the video it can be shared with the class, posted on class blog or a site like SchoolTube. They can also use the app with Popplet or Venn Diagram to make their own special organizer about something that interests them.