Lesson plan

Compare and Contrast Native American Tribes

Challenge your students to think deeply about similarities and differences as they read informational texts. Use this lesson to teach your students about the history of some of the most prominent Native American tribes in the United States.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to compare and contrast information about Native American tribes by reading two informational texts.

(5 minutes)
Native American Tribes: CherokeeNative American Tribes: ChoctawEnvironmental Heroes: Rachel Carson and Al GoreInformational Writing Graphic Organizer
  • Assign students into A-B partnerships, and prompt them to think about the similarities between weekdays and weekends.
  • Direct Partner A to speak to his or her partner about the similarities between weekdays and weekends. Set a one-minute timer and direct Partner A to begin. Then, gather students’ attention and call on some B partners to repeat what their Partner A had explained.
  • Repeat the process with partner roles reversed. Instruct Partner B to discuss the differences between weekdays and weekends.
  • Explain to students that today, they will be looking for similarities and differences between important groups in history.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that when we think about the similarities between two or more things, we Compare. When we look for the differences between two or more things, we Contrast.
  • Connect back to the introduction and point out that Partner A was comparing, while Partner B was contrasting.
  • Draw a Venn diagram on a sheet of paper and display it on the document camera.
  • Show that the middle part of the Venn diagram is where the comparative information goes.
  • Point out that the outer sides of the Venn diagram are where the contrasting information goes.
  • Label the tops of the Venn diagram with the topics that will go in each. (Weekdays and Weekends)
  • Model filling out the Venn diagram with information that students shared from the introduction part of the lesson, in which they compared and contrasted weekdays and weekends.
(15 minutes)
  • Divide students into small groups of three or four students.
  • Give each group a copy of the Environmental Heroes: Rachel Carson and Al Gore worksheet.
  • Direct the students to label the top of the Venn diagram with the focus topics. (Rachel Carson and Al Gore)
  • Instruct students to collaborate with their groups in order to fill out the three sections of the venn diagram on the last page of the worksheet.
  • Encourage students to think critically about similarities and differences about the two topics and to find the evidence in the text by underlining.
  • Circulate to encourage, praise, and prompt.
  • Gather students’ attention and have the class share out. (Tip: Call on nonvolunteers, call on students to restate what another student said, and call on students to agree/disagree with information that is shared.)
  • Create a class copy of the Venn diagram with the students’ shared answers.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will now compare and contrast facts about the history of two important Native American tribes.
  • Distribute a copy of the Native American Tribes: Cherokees worksheet and the Native American Tribes: Choctaw worksheet to students.
  • Hand out a blank piece of paper to each student.
  • Instruct students to draw a Venn diagram on the blank paper.
  • Direct students to read the passages independently and complete the Venn diagram with information about the history of the Cherokee and Choctaw Native American tribes.


  • Frontload vocabulary (compare, contrast, and terms from the reading passages) with students prior to the lesson.
  • Display a Venn diagram with the sections labeled to support students who are unsure of where to place information as they use the graphic organizer.
  • Read aloud the passages about the Native American tribes with struggling readers.
  • Provide colored highlighters to students to help create visuals within the text of information that is similar and information that is different between the two Native American tribes.


  • Develop students’ writing skills by instructing them to take the information from the Venn diagram and turn it into an informational essay. Use the Informational Writing Graphic Organizer as a planning tool before writing or typing the finished product.
  • Challenge advanced students to research different Native American groups (such as Hopi, Apachi, or Iroquois) to compare and contrast.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card, and direct them to put their names on them.
  • Display the following question on the board: What is one similarity and one difference between the Cherokee and Choctaw Native American tribes? What is one interesting fact that you learned about the tribes?
  • Collect index cards to serve as an exit ticket.
(5 minutes)
  • Scramble the student partnerships, and give each student time to share what they learned today about the history of the Cherokee and Choctaw Native American tribes.
  • Encourage students to share additional questions they have about the tribes.

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