Compare and contrast is a useful skill in itself when it comes to analysing different items or groups of items. It is also a very common exam question in lots of subjects at Key Stages 4 and 5. As a result, you should develop your abilities starting in Year 7 and aim to make progress to a more independent and detailed approach by the time you have to tackle the more demanding exam questions.
A progression map showing a suggested route of progress is available below.
Here are a few definitions to clarify what we mean by compare and contrast:
To examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences; to compare two pieces of literary work (Webster’s. p 416).
To compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc., of: Contrast the political rights of Romans and Greeks (Webster’s. p 442).
A Common Approach
Here is the general overview being developed at Redhill in order to have a common approach to compare and contrast, so there is consistency in different lessons across the school.
You should begin by using graphic organisers to organise your thoughts on similarities and differences. The simplest way of doing this is using relational (Venn) diagrams. See below for templates and activities to develop this area of the process.
Having organised similarities and differences in a graphic organiser you should then move on to classifying your ideas into themes by highlighting these themes in some way. This is only necessary for higher levels so may not happen when you are in Years 7 and 8.
Once your ideas are organised (and classified) you now move on to trying to produce a compare and contrast sentence/paragraph/extended piece of writing. The key here is the use of connectives.
Lesson Based Examples
Included here are examples of how this looks in the classroom. Your teachers will add to this section any ideas or activities that they try out.