Comparing & Contrasting Inventors

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SWBAT compare and contrast key details in two texts on the same topic.

Big Idea

What do inventors have that are alike? How are they different? Why do they invent? Learning about them may inspire you to invent new technology!


7 minutes

Summary and Context

Now that the students have had an opportunity to read about different inventors and analyze their lives and inventions, today they get to choose two inventors to compare and contrast. In order to help my students take ownership of the process I ask them to pair share first about who they are going to choose and then share with the whole group their choice. Everyone leaves the rug knowing/deciding who they are going to compare and contrast. This helps keep them accountable and focused.

I had previously modeled how to compare and contrast using a Venn diagram (see reflection in next section), so I am using a Venn diagram as a supporting tool to compare and contrast.

I have prepared their Venn diagrams because I don't want the lesson to be about drawing the venn-diagrams. As they mature and develop finer motor skills towards the end of the year, then I can let them draw their own.

Today, I am giving them the choice of using their anthology, the bubble maps that we have created along the way on different inventors, and/or their memory of the text to compare and contrast. They will need to provide specific details in their comparing and contrasting, so providing evidence is important in this lesson, reflecting the CCSS shift towards providing text-based evidence to back up ideas.

Once the students are done with their Venn diagrams, I will let them pair share. After this, some will share with the whole class.

Lesson Opening:

I start with students on the rug and share the objective. I ask them to think about the different inventors we have learned about. I ask them to think about two inventors they want to compare and contrast.

Comparing & Contrasting

30 minutes

As students walk to their tables, they get a venn-diagram sheet from me. Once everyone is at their tables, I ask them to write the names of the inventors they will compare. It keeps them focused on the task.

I let them know that they are to write a minimum of four sentences in each space. They can choose to write more.

I ask them to write contrasting sentences first. In this way, it becomes easier for them to see how they compare. I am expecting them to use the words "both" and "alike" in their comparison sentences. I expect them to use complete sentences. I used a large piece of construction paper to give them enough space for their writing. I need them to number their sentences. In this way, they can keep their writing organized and their sentences are distinguishable.

They can use the bubble charts we created on the different inventors and/or their anthologies to obtain the information to meet this task.

As they work, I walk around to provide assistance. Some will need repetition of the task. Others will need one-on-one support to meet the task. Others will need guidance as to where the information can be located. I will direct them to the chart or the page but I will not read it for them. As I walk around, I check in to see how they have progressed. I am always excited to hear from my students.

Last, as they finish, I ask the students to draw a picture of each inventor and to draw their inventions in as much detail as they can on and around the Venn-digrams. This keeps those who finish early, busy, and gives me time to support those who need the extra attention. At this age, they still like to draw, and adding visuals aids my students' comprehension, too.

Here are examples of their venn-diagrams:


7 minutes

Now, I ask students to turn to their neighbor and explain the information on their Venn diagrams.

I have English Language Learners. I need to provide many opportunities for them to practice the academic language they are learning. They need to be able to share their work with a varied audience too. Having them pair share also validates their learning. It gives them confidence about their communication skills and everyone is heard in a safe space.This is a powerful technique. I use it often because it never gets old!

Whole Group Sharing

7 minutes

After giving students time to pair share, some students get the opportunity to share with the whole group. After students share, they receive feedback. 

This is the system I use to help structure the feedback process:

  • Two Stars: Two different students share what they specifically like about the content of the writing.
  • A Wish: Another student shares specifically how they think the writing can be improved.

Here is the speaker for today: SharingWholeGroup.