Lesson Plan

Compare and Contrast Essay

Assessment tool to gauge understanding of science content taught.
Joanna C.
Classroom teacher
Ballico Elementary School
Ballico, CA
Show More
My Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Write a compare and contrast essay about two things learned during the science unit on "Matter"
  • Write an introductory statement
  • Use a block format or point by point format
  • Use at least 3 transitional words / phraes
  • Use at least 5 acadmeic vocabulary words from the unit
  • Write a conclusion
English Language Arts
Grades 4 - 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Comparison and Contrast Guide


A step by step guide to what is the purpose of comparing and contrasting.


Student Instructions

Read through the presentation, keeping in mind how you might want to present your material

2 Choosing a Topic / Graphic Organizer

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Review with students what a Venn Diagram is and how it is used.

Show how you can create your own graphic Organizer in google draw.

Give students a list of topic covered in unit they may choose from to demonstrate their knowledge of content,

Student Instructions

Students will create a new google draw and name it "compare/contrast GO, (last name)

Students will choose to make a venn digram by drawing two overlapping circles or two overlapping rectangles.

Students will label each section with the topics they have chosen for their compare and contrast essay from their "Matter" science unit.

They will then complete the venn diagram with as much information about their topic.  They may use the digital text book, reread articles given to them by the teacher, look at lab notes, and/or do further research on the internet.

3 Transitional Words and Formats

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Share document with students 


Discuss transitional words and how they are used.  Have students find the transitional words in each example and highlight them in the document.

Use the eamples to show two different formats of writing a compare and contrast essay (block vs point by point.) Using two different highlighting colors have students find the items that are being compared and contrasted in each example.  Point out how the same information is being discussed but at different times in the examples.

Student Instructions

Step 1 Using the font highlighting tool, I want you to find all the transitional words that we discussed and looked at above in your document; in the two examples below: highlight them yellow if they are contrasting and pink if they are comparing.  

Step 2  Together as a class we will underline all the information that is being compared and contrasted in the two articles.  As we do this I want you to notice how they are grouping the information.  I will be asking you if the material is grouped by topic or if each detail is listed together making a comparison or contrasting statement.

4 Thesis Statement

Show and discuss video with students.

Practice writing several thesis statements together using topics studyied in class.

Be sure to discuss how deciding on the information you want to present must be done first.  Will you e only taliking about similarites, differences or doing both.

Student Instructions

Watch youtube video.

Help your teacher write some example thesis statements.

Now think about your essay.  Use the video to help you write out a thesis statement for your essay.  Share your thesis statement with a partner and have them check it for understanding.  If you are happy with it, share it with your teacher for approval to get started on your essay.

5 Compare / Contrast Rubric

Share grading rubric with class so as students understand what is expected from them when completing their essay.  Go over final directions, and review where students can find material to help them with their essay.


Student Instructions

Read through the grading rubric.  Make a list of the tings that must be included in your essay.

6 Directions for Essay

Google Drive
Free, Paid


Go over specific directions and expectations for assignment

7 Compare and Contrast Essay - Writing

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students will complete their essay using Google Drive on a Google Document

Student Instructions

Create a google document - name it Compare and Contrast, (last Name).

Share it with your teacher and your student partner.

When you think your rough draft is complete.  Schedule a time to sit with your student partner and read through your essay and make any corrections you think is necessary.  When you are ready, submit your essay to your teacher for review by sending an email with your request.