Compare and contrast is the ability to analyze two or more people, places, events, ideas, or objects highlighting their similarities and differences and similarities across a variety of characteristics. Fourth graders are extending the learning of similarities and differences through the analysis of critical findings and the development of analogies, connections, and explanations.
Compare and Contrast can connect all 10 content areas as detailed below.
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
In comprehensive health and physical education, compare and contrast is a necessary concept to understanding the benefits and consequences of being physically active. Students learn about the five fitness components and the impact that a variety of physical activities have on these components through fitness testing. Comparing and contrasting is a concept that contributes to students being able to make informed choices about their physical activity level.
In dance, comparing and contrasting dances helps to differentiate between types of dances by analyzing organizational structures. For instance, analyzing dances with similar themes and or works of well-known choreographers for elements of style and form are examples of ways to categorize and organize dance.
Drama and Theatre Arts
In drama and theatre arts, compare and contrast is a skill used to create simple dramas and adaptations. Playwrights often create new story lines through an analysis of existing works and by adjusting dramatic or story elements to create a new dramatic form.
In mathematics, compare and contrast is skill used to reveal underlying mathematical structures of quantities and characteristics. For example, comparing decimal numbers can help reveal the structure of the base-ten place value system and comparing and contrasting choice and opportunity cost is an application of the four operations of arithmetic. Fourth graders compare and contrast fractions and decimal numbers to reveal the structure of positive rational numbers.
In music, comparing and contrasting two or more parts in musical selections and unique aspects of music from various periods in history requires a basic knowledge of musical elements. Using contrasting themes as criteria for classifying musical genre is one example of this skill. The ability to compare and contrast musical elements can provide fourth graders with higher level critical thinking skills.
Reading, Writing, and Communicating
In reading, writing and communicating, compare and contrast is a concept used to deepen understanding of written and spoken language. In fourth grade, students identify and analyze differences between types of discourse, texts, and characters. Learners use compare and contrast strategies to develop analogies and connections between media.
In science, comparing and contrasting allows for deeper understanding of objects, organisms and systems. For example, patterns in nature are revealed by comparing and contrasting events in order to develop an understanding of complex phenomena.
In social studies, compare and contrast is an essential skill for understanding ideas, cultures and events. In history, students learn about events by comparing and contrasting them to one another such as comparing the paths two territories took to statehood. In geography, students look for comparisons and contrasts to better understand the ways different environments have led to different cultures.
In visual arts, comparing and contrasting visual information and works of art can lead to the creation of organizational categories. For example, art works can be organized by comparing and contrasting style, medium and/or form. Categorizing visual representations based on similar characteristics and philosophies of art and design requires a strong understanding of visual literacy as well as a high level of comparison ability.
In world languages, compare and contrast is part of examining the learners’ culture and the target culture. Comparing and contrasting is done with cultural perspectives and the products between the learners’ culture and the target culture. For example, schooling practices vary between cultures or dance is more expressive in one culture versus another. In the process of comparing and contrasting, learners increase their appreciation of their culture as well as the target culture because of a deeper understanding.
Summary Document: All standards pages for compare and contrast