Similarities and differences are concepts grounded in simple use of comparison and classification to organize and make sense of the world. Identifying similarities and differences provides the foundation for sorting, organizing, and contrasting according to attributes and characteristics. Understanding similarities and differences is a fundamental cognitive process, which enables kindergarteners to link, connect, and integrate ideas as they build upon prior knowledge and create new learning.
Similarities and Differences can connect 9 of 10 content areas as detailed below.
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
In comprehensive health and physical education, similarities and differences are used to develop body and spatial awareness as well as healthy eating and safety habits. Students must discern similarities and differences in their body parts, movements, traffic symbols and food characteristics in order to make healthy and safe decisions.
In dance, similarities and differences occur in how one’s movement to varying tones and opposite stimuli such as silence versus sound build a basic understanding of dance. Responding to fast and slow tempos with body movements builds a concrete understanding of similarities and differences. Connecting conceptual learning to movement builds a strong foundation for understanding important elements in higher level thinking as students move from the concrete to the abstract.
Drama and Theatre Arts
In drama and theatre arts, similarities and differences are used in distinguishing between types of characters. Demonstrating and imitating characters in a dramatic setting is fundamental in drama. The ability to distinguish character emotion through facial expressions and movement provides a foundation for understanding a character in dramatic and narrative literature.
In mathematics, similarities and differences are ways of comparing quantities and attributes of objects. For example, comparing the size of two sets using the words more or less or the attributes of several shapes is done through examining similarities and differences. Kindergartners are learning to identify similarities and differences in the sizes of groups and the attributes of objects.
In music, similarities and differences between musical styles are shown through identifying musical opposites and tone color. Comparing loud/soft, fast/slow, male and female voices or vocal and instrumental sounds builds a foundation for strong auditory discrimination. Auditory discrimination is critical in phonemic awareness and should be built at an early age to ensure fluent readers and listeners.
Reading, Writing, and Communicating
In reading, writing and communicating, similarities and differences are used to sort words and objects into categories such as antonyms, synonyms, and rhyming words. In kindergarten, similarities and differences are also used to compare and contrast letters and sounds, characters and experiences in stories, or kinds of texts.
In science, similarities and differences are used to sort and classify objects. Identifying key differences and characteristics of objects and organisms is a fundamental skill. Taking good observations and noting these key characteristics helps people make sense of the natural world.
In social studies, similarities and differences are used to understand and respect how people are alike and different. In history, similarities and differences allow for the comparison of the past to the present. In geography similarities and differences are used to recognize the attributes of humans and their environment and how they are organized. Being able to recognize similarities and differences is critical in making sense of the world by linking, connecting, and integrating ideas as they build upon prior knowledge and create new learning. Being able to recognize similarities and differences is critical in making sense of the world.
In visual arts, similarities and differences are ways of looking at patterns and shapes. Understanding basic characteristics and expressive features through similarities and differences and identifying sensory qualities of art enable learners to describe what they see.
Summary Document: All standards pages for similarities and differences
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