Grade Levels: K-3

This lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-3, is built around the BrainPOP Jr. topic Compare and Contrast. Students will learn how to compare and contrast using a Venn diagram, and discover words and phrases that signal comparisons and contrasts. Then they’ll use their own Venn diagrams to compare and contrast two items of their choice, and use their notes to create a storybook.  

Students will:

  1. Practice comparing and contrasting.
  2. Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast content from a BrainPOP Jr. movie.
  3. Create an original Venn diagram to compare and contrast two items of their choice.
  4. Use notes from their Venn diagram to create a storybook.



compare, comparison, contrast, Venn diagram


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask the class a question, such as “How are cats and dogs alike?” After they share a few examples, tell them that they’ve just “compared,” which means they described how two or more things are alike. Use one of their examples in a sentence, such as, “A cat and a dog are both pets.” Say the sentence aloud and write it on the board. Underline the word “both” and explain that this word signals how things are alike; it signals a comparison.
  2. Now pose a question that asks students to contrast, such as “How are cats and dogs different?” After students provided a few examples, tell them that they’ve just “contrasted.” Ask what they think the word “contrast” means, and make sure they understand that when we contrast, we show how two or more things are different. Again, use one of their examples in a sentence, such as, “A cat meows, but a dog barks.” Underline the word “but” and explain that this word signals a contrast.
  3. Display the movie Compare and Contrast on the whiteboard. Watch the movie as a whole class. Turn on closed captions so students can read along if they like. Pause at various points to reinforce student understanding of key concepts.
  4. After watching the movie once through, project the Venn diagram on a separate screen, or draw one on chart paper. Label one side “shark” and the other “dolphin”. Tell students that this is called a Venn diagram, and we use it specifically to compare and contrast things. Remind students that in the movie Annie and Moby compare and contrast dolphins and sharks. Tell them that they will watch the movie again, this time taking notes in the Venn diagram. Explain that we write differences or contrasts in the outer rings and the similarities or comparisons in the overlapping space.
  5. Now play the movie again, again turning on closed captions. Pause the movie after Annie says “Dolphins also have sharp teeth, but unlike bull sharks, they don’t use them to tear their food.” Point to the word “also” and remind them that it signals a comparison. Ask how dolphins and sharks are alike in this example. Write “sharp teeth” in the overlapping section. Repeat this modeling to identify the differences in this example: Sharks use their teeth to tear food, but dolphins don’t. Write the difference in the outer rings.
  6. Continue the movie, pausing each time Annie compares or contrasts dolphins and sharks. Encourage volunteers to identify the comparisons and contrasts as you write them in the Venn diagram.
  7. After watching the movie for the second time, distribute the Venn diagram to each student. Prompt them to think about two things, ideas, places, etc. that they’d like to compare/contrast. If they need help, brainstorm ideas such as sports, music, movies, etc. Give them time to complete their Venn diagrams.
  8. Next, distribute paper and markers. Instruct students to use their notes from their Venn diagrams to create a compare/contrast storybook. Encourage them to use signal words to make their comparisons and contrasts. Write the words on the board for students to reference as follows: Compare Words: alike, same, also, too, both, similar, in common, the same as Contrast Words: differ, difference, unlike, although, even though, instead, however, on the other hand
  9. Finally, put everyone’s story books on display and allow time for students to read each other’s stories. You can also invite other classes to come and browse your classroom book store.

Extension Activities:

Assess students’ knowledge of compare/contrast by taking the Easy Quiz or Hard Quiz at the end of this lesson.

Encourage students who finish their storybooks early to try Draw About It, Write About It, or Talk About It to show what they now know about compare and contrast.