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Compare and Contrast Activity: Task Cards

Teaching the reading skill “compare and contrast” is fun! What is your favorite “compare and contrast” activity?

In previous posts, I shared ideas, PPT slides, and differentiated worksheets that elementary teachers can use when teaching the skill! The slides are perfect for teachers in mini-lessons, while the worksheets provide enough practice for students’ independent work.

However, what if some of you have early finishers? What if you want to teach a small group or have a reading center? Then read today’s post for more ideas about teaching “compare and contrast.”

Here is a freebie of all the task cards I will mention in this post. Click here to join my email list and download the freebie!

compare and contrast activity- task cards

Compare and Contrast Activity: Picture Task Cards (10 cards)

I like to use objects or pictures to help students (especially ELLs or students with special needs) get the hang of this reading skill. For example, I always bring an apple and an orange and ask my class to compare and contrast them. Sometimes, I just ask two student volunteers to come up and let the class compare and contrast them.

However, we can’t bring everything to our classrooms, so we use pictures. The picture cards below let students compare and contrast all kinds of things related to their life. Besides, they can also observe these pictures carefully and get details from them to help them compare or contrast.

compare and contrast activity-picture cards
Compare and contrast picture cards
compare and contrast activity picture cards closer look
All picture cards have various sentence frames to support students

Compare and Contrast Activity: Passage Task Cards (10 cards)

Whenever you think your students are ready to move on, you can prepare some passages like the ones below.

As you can see, each passage addresses two related topics, such as Yoga and Pilates, football and basketball, Japan and Korea, etc. The passages compare and contrast two topics thoroughly, so students actually can learn more about both topics, rather than simply stating the similarities and differences they see.

compare and contrast activity passage cards

Let’s take a closer look at the passage on Card #11. The passage talks about the similarities and differences between orange juice and lemonade.

Here are some similarities: 1. Both orange juice and lemonade are refreshing drinks made from fruits! 2. Both drinks have vitamins and other nutrients that are good for our health. 3. Both drinks have many different kinds.

The differences discussed in the passage include 1. Orange juice is made from oranges, while lemonade is made from lemons. 2. Orange juice usually has more sugar and calories than lemonade. 3. Lemonade can be pink or clear. 4. …

As you can see, the passage compares and contrasts the two drinks in depth. Thus, students can learn a lot more about the two topics and find more similarities and differences between them.

compare and contrast activity passage card closer look
Orange Juice VS. Lemonade

Compare and Contrast Activity: Related Texts Task Cards (10 cards)

According to the Common Core standards R.L. 3.9, students need to compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).

Therefore, when students have had enough practice with the passage cards, they need to move on to compare and contrast two texts. The cards below show an example:

The Three Little Pigs VS. Little Red Riding Hood

compare and contrast activity: related texts cards

The first card retells the story of The Three Little Pigs, and the second card is the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

The prompt at the bottom of each card asks students to compare and contrast these two classic stories.

Here are some similarities: 1. Both are fictional. 2. Both stories have a wolf as one of the main characters, and the wolf wants to eat the other characters. 3. Both stories happened long ago. 4….

However, the stories have many differences in terms of themes, settings, and plots of stories.

For example, although part of the settings is the same (both have “once upon a time”), the story of Three Little Pigs happened at the pigs’ houses, while the story of Little Red Riding Hood happened “in the forest” and “at the grandma’s house.”

The two stories also teach us different lessons. To be specific, we can learn things like “don’t trust strangers”, “don’t reveal personal information”, and “appearances can be deceiving”, etc. from Little Red Riding Hood.

On the other hand, The Three Little Pigs teaches us “hard work pays off”, “shortcuts can cost you a lot”, “plan strategically”, etc.

As you can see, comparing and contrasting the themes, settings, and plots of similar or related stories is not an easy task. I also included cards with related informational texts for students to practice. For instance, “Water-An Important Resource” vs. “Water Cycle”, “All Kinds of Organisms” vs. “Animal Variation”, and “What is Culture?” vs. “Cultural Traditions” etc.

Progress Tracking Chart & Recording Sheet

Since my early finishers like to work on these task cards by themselves whenever they finish classwork, I tell them to use the progress chart to keep track of their work. This will also help me know what and how much they have been working on.

Students can simply record their answers on their reading or ELA notebooks, or they can use the provided recording sheet with the Venn Diagram to help them organize their thinking.

compare and contrast activity recording sheet and progress chart

To Sum Up

I just shared some activity ideas for students to practice the “comparing and contrasting” reading skill in depth.

If you find them helpful, you may create materials to use with your students. Or you can get the freebie below to save some planning time.

Click here to get some “compare and contrast” lesson slides.

Besides, if you like the ideas and activities, you may check out these related products from my store by clicking the pictures below.

37 Ready-to-teach PPT/Google slides
60 Differentiated Worksheets
PPT Slides & Worksheets Bundle (to save)
30 Differentiated Task Cards

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Happy teaching, 


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