Compare and Contrast Racing in Different Eras

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SWBAT will identify similarities and differences about racing in different eras by analyzing the texts "Spit Nolan" and the "History of the Soap Box Derby"

Big Idea

What's the same? What's different? Making deeper text based comparisons.

Attributes of "Spit Nolan"

10 minutes

In this lesson, students will be comparing two texts, however, I don't want them to know that right away.  Here's why...I want them to investigate and think about the texts deeply first.  Before I even mention the words compare and contrast, I want students to examine the essential attributes of the text.  We will start with the familiar text, "Spit Nolan."  

Students will take notes on these attributes on the left column of their graphic organizer.  They will list the attributes in the center column.

  • Competitors
  • Cars
  • Race
  • Purpose of the race

Students will grab their story, and go through it looking for information about each of these topics.  Since this is a new organizer, I will model it for them first.  I will help them out with the competitors.  They will look for information about the cars on their own, but I will check over it with them.  I will also show them exactly how to fill out the graphic organizer.This activity will activate their prior knowledge of the story, and get them really thinking deeply about these aspects of it before we move on to a new text.

Students will partner will their shoulder buddy for this activity and collaborate as needed.  

On a side note, I like this organizer much better than the Venn Diagram because there is more room.  A modification can be to add a horizontal rectangle to the bottom for students to mark similarities and differences, but like I mentioned before, I don't want them to know they are comparing and contrasting just yet.  

Direct Link to VideoHow students use the chart

"The History of Soap Box Derby"

30 minutes

Since the Soap Box Derby is a new concept, and because it is a lot of fun, I will show this quick video clip from youtube!  



My students loved the idea of the Soap Box Derby.  Some of them want to participate, and many of them begged me to let them build one in class!  This video really peaked their interest.  They had so many questions that they were eager to start reading and find answers!  

Now, I will introduce the text, "The History of the Soap Box Derby" presented by  

As students read this text, they will seek information about the attributes listed on their graphic organizers.  

  • Competitors
  • Cars
  • Race
  • Purpose

Students will partner read for this activity, and highlight information about the attributes as they go.  Once they are finished reading, this information will go on the right side of the graphic organizer.  

This strategy gives students an opportunity to read for meaning.  They are actively seeking out information on 4 particular aspects of the text.  They are focused and purposeful in their reading.  (yay!)  

Student Example

Time to Compare

15 minutes

Now that students have finished examining both texts, it is time to compare.  

I will pose this question:  

Is the race that Spit Nolan and his friends participated in more similar or more different than the Soap Box Derby?

I will ask the students to state their answer using the RACE method and defend their positions by citing specific evidence from BOTH texts!  This is exciting because until now, my students have just used one text.  

I will have the students work with the same shoulder partner on this activity and do their writing on a large white board.

Once writers have finished, we will leave our seats and walk around to view other people's answers.  I will ask my students to give specific feedback on the white boards in this form.  I agree with ___________because__________________________. or I disagree with _________________because.  

Students will return to their seats and read the responses left on their boards.  

Now, students will individually answer one last questions involving the two texts.  What is the most important difference between the two races?  They will explain their opinion and support it using both texts again.  I chose to focus on the differences here because I noticed that most of my students said that the 2 races were more similar in their initial question.  I wanted them to look at both sides of the story.  

This strategy offers a ton of bang for your buck!  Students are comparing and contrasting which is one of the most effective high yield strategies for retention of learning.  They are supporting their opinions and citing evidence which is a big old common core shift.  While we are going all out for common core, I will mention that they are comparing two texts which is also a big part of it all!  What's more, the students are reading closely for purpose without even realizing it!  Yahoo!  It doesn't get much better than this!