Teaching Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast Mini Lesson

To compare and contrast means to look for similarities and differences in people, places, things, or ideas. Several different graphic organizers can be used to aid with categorizing information. Four visuals include Venn diagrams, T-charts, double bubble maps, and matrix charts.


Using Venn-Diagrams


Venn diagrams use closed shapes (usually circles). Use Venn diagrams to depict logical relations between terms or topics. Venn diagrams illustrate inclusion, exclusion, or intersection. Their main purpose is to organize information visually so that relationships between sets of items can be easily seen.

Uses for Venn-Diagrams

  • to compare two or more choices to see what they have in common
  • problem-solving
  • organization – to logically reason through information


Double Bubble Map

Using Double Bubble Organizers


A double bubble map is similar to a Venn diagram. It is used to identify similar and different qualities of two things. The inside circles show similarities. The outside circles show differences.

Use a  double-bubble map when you have too much information to complete a Venn diagram.

How to Create a Double Bubble Maps

  • List 2 items you plan to compare in the 2 center circles.
  • In the connecting circles, show similarities.
  • In the outside bubbles identify differences.
  • Bubble maps can extend beyond the immediate circle. Add as many bubbles as needed for the information you have.

Uses for Double Bubble Maps

  • compare and contrast story elements
  • analyze similarities and differences in concepts 
  • compare and contrast ideas
  • think deeply about two items


Using T-Charts


T-charts are a type of organizer that lists two facets of a topic. They are used to either compare or contrast two items.

Uses for T-Charts

  • Pros and Cons – Use T-charts to list two opposing views. Tell all the positive on one side and the negative issues of an idea on the other side of the chart.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages or Strengths and Weaknesses – Use T-charts to list the advantages or strengths of an idea versus the disadvantages or weaknesses of the same idea.
  • Facts and Opinions – Use T-charts to sort facts (true statements that can be proven) versus opinions (statements that are not always true and that cannot be proven).
  • Analyze – Use T-charts to analyze two texts. These works may include poems, songs, videos, or art by their themes or another similar topic.
  • Find Relationships – Use T-charts to find similarities between two unlike items such as two different animals.
  • Characteristics of Two Topics – Use T-charts to compare two qualities such as character traits.


Using a Matrix to Organize Information


A matrix is a logical chart, graphic organizer. It allows individuals to compare and contrast multiple topics. With a matrix map, you can see multiple similarities and differences.

Uses for a Matrix

  • finding similarities and differences in characters or settings
  • categorizing math or science properties
  • classifying social studies topics
  • comparing people or events in history
  • great for organizing texts with several people, events, or places
  • easy way to quickly see a lot of information

Check out this blog post to learn more. The post also includes this free monster matrix map.


Ways to Create Organizers

Compare and Contrast Chart Maker


Once information is categorized using an organizer, students are often asked to turn the information into paragraph format. Students should use standard paragraph features. These include topic sentences, detail sentences, and conclusions. They should also focus on writing great transitions between these sentences.

Some signal words for comparisons include like, both, also, most, have in common, similarly, and like or likewise To contrast topics, students might use but, whereas, although, instead, on the other hand, even though, whereas, and however.

More Blog Posts on Compare and Contrast at Book Units Teacher

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Teaching Compare and Contrast with Songs


See the product that inspired this post.

Purchase Text Structure - Compare and Contrast Lessons and Activities at Teachers Pay Teachers

Text Structure – Compare and Contrast Lessons and Activities includes lessons and activities teaching different ways fiction and nonfiction are compared and contrasted.  



Check out the other posts in this series by clicking on the buttons below.

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Compare and Contrast
Problems and Solutions



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