Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Explorers and Compare & Contrast

In my 5th grade class we have just completed our study of explorers. The students completed a project where they each studied an explorer and presented the information to the class. We used our information about the explorers with our compare and contrast lessons. 

Compare and Contrast

I broke compare and contrast into two weeks, one week for non-fiction and one week for fiction. The first week we compared and contrasted non-fiction we discussed Christopher Columbus and Ponce De Leon for two days and then Sailors and Pirates for two days. 

After reading the article about Christopher Columbus and Ponce De Leon we discussed how they were alike and different. The students took notes as they read to help them with easily finding information. The students then worked with a partner to write down three other ways that they were alike and different. They wrote their answers on sticky notes and then posted them on the board. 

The students also recorded information on a Venn Diagram worksheet. We then wrote together as a class a paragraph explaining how the explorers were alike and different. I gave each student a Compare & Contrast list of words to use when writing. As we read the articles and discussed how the Christopher Columbus and Ponce De Leon were alike and different I also discussed with the students why they were important explorers. This was actually a two day lesson because of all the discussion that went on. It always amazes me how many questions students have when we learn about American History. 

On Thursday and Friday (we were out of school on Wednesday) we compared and contrasted life at sea for Pirates and Sailors. We followed the same format the students read the articles taking notes as they read, complete the Venn Diagram, and wrote a paragraph discussing the differences and similarities. The students loved reading about pirates, they are my favorite too! After reading each article I asked the students if they would be a sailor or pirate. It was fun to hear their thoughts.

Explorers Project

Each student picked an explorer to study, created a mini poster and gave a presentation to the class.The project directions are found at this link, Explorer Project. Check out the students projects below.
Students researching their explorer.


  1. How do you look for information for your future articles and which search resources do you mostly use?

  2. Could you email me the articles you used for this lesson? Thanks! courtneyspear1@yahoo.com

  3. Why does it not say anything about the bad things they did, for example C.C caused a mass genocide of native Indians.