Lesson plan

Comparing Whales

Help your year one students learn about comparing and contrasting nonfiction texts in this fun under-the-sea-themed lesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to compare and contrast information from two nonfiction texts.

(5 minutes)
Nonfiction Compare & Contrast
  • Begin by showing students pictures of two shapes (e.g., square and a rectangle). Ask them what is similar about the two and what is different.
  • Record student thinking on a blank Venn diagram drawn on the board. Explain to students that when we find things that are the same it is called ComparingAnd when we find the things that are different, it is called Contrasting. When we want to compare or contrast we use a special organizer to help us called a Venn diagram.
  • Tell students that when we compare and contrast two books on the same topic, we can learn even more about that topic.
(5 minutes)
  • Open each of the books to the table of contents and read a few of the sections to the students to gather information about the book.
  • Think aloud, "How are these books the same? How are they different?" Answer each question as you note how the books are the same, and how they are different.
  • Record ideas on a new Venn diagram on the board.
(5 minutes)
  • Open each book to a new section such as the glossary and read aloud from each book.
  • Ask students to think-pair-share what is similar and what is different about the two books. Instruct Partner A to ask Partner B the question, "How are the books the same?" Provide a sentence frame that Partner B can use to share information about the books: "The books are the same because they both ____."
  • Instruct Partner B to ask Partner A, "How are the books different?" Provide a sentence frame that Partner A can use to share information about the books: "One book ____, but the other book ____."
  • Have students share out their ideas and record the information on the Venn diagram on the board.
  • Remind students to use information from the nonfiction texts to help them determine similarities and differences between the texts.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out pairs of nonfiction books to students that are on similar topics and have them complete the Nonfiction Compare & Contrast worksheet independently.
  • Encourage students to ask questions aloud about how the books are similar and different, and record answers on the Venn diagram.


  • Work with a small group of students using the same two books and complete one worksheet as a group.


  • Have students complete an additional worksheet using a second pair of nonfiction books.
(5 minutes)
  • Check student work to assess whether students are able to find comparisons and contrasts between two books on the same topic.
  • Listen that students are able to ask and answer questions to get information about how the books are similiar and different.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about when and why finding similarities and differences between books can be helpful.

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