Lesson Plan

What’s Similar? What’s Different?

How are plants’ traits affected by environmental factors? In this integrated science and reading lesson, students will use multiple sources to identify and determine how traits are influenced by the environment.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Similarities and Differences pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Similarities and Differences pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to use two texts to compare and contrast important points on the same topic. Students will be able to determine ways that traits can be influenced by the environment.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments

Introduction

(5 minutes)
Comparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of WaterComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of the SunHot or Cold? How Temperatures Affect PlantsFeeding Our PetsComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of WaterComparing Two Nonfiction Texts: The Influence of the Sun
  • Ask students to sit in a circle or in a central area.
  • Show students the bag of objects without revealing what is inside.
  • Ask for two volunteers.
  • Ask each volunteer to put their hand in the bag and pull out an object without looking.
  • Lead the class in a brief discussion of how the objects are similar or different. To compare is to tell how two things are alike and to contrast is to tell how two things are different.
  • Tell students that they will be learning how to compare and contrast important details from two texts and that they will be learning more about how certain traits are influenced by the environment. Tell the students that a trait is a special characteristic of a living thing. To influence a trait means that something has caused change.

Beginning

  • Have ELs tell a partner the definition of compare and contrast, either in English or their home language (L1).
  • Choose simple, familiar objects, such as classroom materials, to compare and contrast.
  • Provide visuals to accompany the defined terms (compare, contrast, trait, influence).

Intermediate

  • Provide sentence stems for students to use as they explain the meaning of key terms, such as "To compare/contrast is to ________."
  • Instruct partners to discuss similarities and differences with a sentence frame, such as "The two items are ________ because ___________."