# 10 Compare and Contrast Strategies

Having a toolbox full of compare and contrast strategies help build a skill that is crucial across the curriculum.

We compare and contrast characters in a story, word choice in writing, equations in math (think < > =, not to mention word problems), different hypotheses in science, how holidays are celebrated in different cultures, etc. This skill’s significance is reflected in its multiple appearances in the Common Core Standards.

Here are some awesome compare and contrast strategies for your class!

### Venn Diagrams

In addition to using them on paper, you can make big ones on the floor with hula hoops and have kids use labeled index cards or Post-It notes to fill in the variables. This is one of the effective compare and contrast strategies that engage students physically and mentally.

### Analogies

Analogies are great because you can use different criteria and then talk about which criteria were used. For example, the analogy mountain : hill :: river : stream is defined by size, while December : Christmas :: February : Valentine’s Day is defined by time. Here is an Analogy Worksheet to help implement this compare and contrast strategy.

### Similes and Metaphors

Like analogies, students can identify what the criteria are for the comparison. Similes may be easier for younger students because the words “like” and “as” pretty much tell you what the criteria are, while you often have to work a little harder with a metaphor. This makes similes and metaphors valuable compare and contrast strategies.

### Would You Rather Questions

Would You Rather Questions present a forced choice between two more or less equal options, which can lead to some terrific discussions. Read more about using would you rather questions with your students here. This method is another engaging compare and contrast strategy.

### Venn Diagrams

In addition to using them on paper, you can make big Venn Diagrams on the floor with hula hoops and have kids use labeled index cards or Post-It notes to fill in the variables. This is one of the effective compare and contrast strategies that engage students physically and mentally.

### Class Polls, Bar Graphs, and Glyphs

Good ways to compare and contrast students’ experiences, opinions, traits, etc. Incorporating these into your lessons can provide diverse compare and contrast strategies that are visual and interactive.

### Foldables

Foldables can be used in so many ways for comparing and contrasting! Here are instructions on how to make some of the most common foldables. Using foldables is a hands-on compare and contrast strategy that can make learning more dynamic.

### Rating and Ranking

There are so many ways to use this. Students can use numbers to rank brainstormed ideas. They can use a rating scale to evaluate their own work, peer presentations, the usefulness of a particular lesson, etc. This approach is a flexible compare and contrast strategy that can be tailored to various activities.

### Comparisons Over Time

Everyone loves to see improvement. Having students complete a variety of tasks at the start of the year and then doing the same ones at the end of the year is a wonderful way to compare then and now. Do this on a smaller scale with a pretest and post-test for any unit of study. This long-term compare and contrast strategy helps students see their progress.

### T-Charts

Simple, basic, effective, and applicable to so many things. You can put a variable on each side of the chart (e.g., “conductor” and “insulator”) or you could put the words “same” and “different” on either side and put the things to be compared at the top (e.g., “mammals” and “reptiles”). T-Charts are classic compare and contrast strategies that are easy to implement.

### Written Essay

No one should leave school without being able to write a solid, well-organized compare and contrast essay, complete with examples from life or literature. They will need these skills for the essay portion of the SAT. Writing essays is an essential compare and contrast strategy that develops critical thinking and writing skills.

### Interactive Bulletin Boards

Create an interactive bulletin board where students can add their own comparisons and contrasts using sticky notes or index cards. This visual and collaborative compare and contrast strategy encourages student participation and ongoing engagement.

### Double Bubble Maps

Double Bubble Maps are similar to Venn Diagrams but provide more space for students to list multiple attributes. This tool is excellent for detailed comparisons and is a favorite among visual learners.

### Comparing Books and Movies

Have students compare and contrast books with their movie adaptations. This activity can spark lively discussions about storytelling, character development, and directorial choices, making it a compelling compare and contrast strategy.

### Concept Maps

Concept maps help students visually organize information about two or more concepts, highlighting similarities and differences. This method is particularly useful for comparing complex topics and is a versatile compare and contrast strategy.

### Peer Reviews

Students can review each other’s work using a set rubric, then compare and contrast their feedback. This exercise promotes critical thinking and peer learning, making it an interactive compare and contrast strategy.

### Compare and Contrast Journals

Encourage students to keep journals where they regularly compare and contrast topics studied in class. This ongoing practice helps reinforce the skill and provides a reflective compare and contrast strategy.

### Theme Analysis

Analyze themes across different texts, such as comparing the theme of friendship in two novels. This literary-focused compare and contrast strategy deepens students’ understanding of thematic elements in literature.

### Science Experiments

Compare and contrast the results of different science experiments. This hands-on approach not only teaches scientific principles but also serves as a practical compare and contrast strategy in the science curriculum.

### Historical Comparisons

Have students compare and contrast historical events, such as the causes and effects of World War I and World War II. This historical compare and contrast strategy enhances students’ understanding of history and its interconnected events.

### Debates

Organize classroom debates on topics where students must compare and contrast different viewpoints. This dynamic compare and contrast strategy fosters critical thinking, public speaking, and analytical skills.

SVG Image Map Example

## Compare and Contrast Reading Passages

Many of you have found my Text Time close reading passages, especially the paired passages, highly effective.

To enhance this, I created a product with three passages on the same subject instead of two, allowing you to select any two to work with or use all three. Each passage is available at two reading levels: grades 3/4 and 4/5. The text-dependent questions remain the same for both levels, enabling group discussions even with differentiated reading.

### High-Interest Passages

These passages, focused on science or social studies topics, are engaging for students and easy to integrate into your curriculum. There are ten sets of three related passages, providing ample practice. Designed to be used together, either in pairs or all three, these passages include six graphic organizers to help students compare and contrast effectively.

### Source Material for Writing

These passages can also serve as source material for writing informative paragraphs. This approach is less overwhelming than using broader resources like the library or internet. All three passages, including the fictional ones, contain factual information suitable for informative writing. I adapted guide pages from my I Heart Paragraph Writing product for use with these passages.

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