October 13, 2016
By Maggie Knutson

Lesson plan

Compare and Contrast Information Across Sources

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Comparing with Transition WordsPre-lesson.
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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Comparing with Transition WordsPre-lesson.

Students will be able to compare and contrast information across three different resources on a given subject.

Students will consider how to handle conflicting information across resources.

(15 minutes)
  • Think of an event that your whole class recently experienced (a field trip, an assembly, a conflict or problem that has since been resolved).
  • Choose three students to participate in a brief experiment. Separate them from the class (i.e. hallway) and tell them to refrain from talking to one another.
  • Tell the class to take out a piece of paper and to try to take notes on the information that each student provides in their report. Have them pay special attention to the facts or observations that are included.They should use bullet points and phrases rather than capturing every word, verbatim.
  • Have the students come into the classroom, one by one, and have each give a brief report on the event.
  • After all three students are done, compare the details and observations of the three accounts: What was included? What was left out? Did one version give a different flavour than another?
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that in this modern information age, we are able to access a lot of information. Ask students to take 2 minutes to brainstorm all of the different kinds of sources of information to which we have access. Examples: books, blogs, wikipedia, documentaries, magazines, websites, social media, etc. Share out responses with the large group.

  • It is important to be able to think critically about information, and understand that different sources are going to provide different versions.

  • Explain that students are going to practise comparing and contrasting information from three different sources and see how the sources differ.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that Nat Turner is a significant figure in United States history, but most people know very little about him. Tell them they are going to be researching him and comparing and contrasting information from different resources.
  • Pass out the Compare and Contrast template on which students will record their findings
  • Using copies of printed material or digital technology to project an electronic resource (for the class to view together), fill out a few cells of the template as a class.
(30 minutes)
  • Have students work independently or in pairs to collect information from three different resources, listing the sources at the top of each column.


  • Have students work in pairs or small groups
  • Complete more of the template as a class
  • Provide 3 printed grade level texts across a topic for developing readers (below grade level)


  • Have students compare a fourth resource
  • Have students select their own topic to compare and contrast information across resources

Use internet websites to access topics to compare and contrast information.

Optional: Use links below to teach students about assessing the credibility of information found on websites.

(10 minutes)
  • Formative: Circulate around the room to answer questions and ensure that students are able to access resources and taking notes appropriately.
  • Summative: Collect templates to evaluate whether students were able to compare and contrast information across resources.
(10 minutes)
  • Review the completed template as a class and discuss findings.
  • Discuss questions listed at the bottom of the template.

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