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        6-8

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        Comparing and Contrasting - Grassland, Desert, and Forest Elephants

        Students use a T-chart to take notes on the similarities and differences among elephants. With partners, they organize their notes and construct a Venn diagram with illustrations.

        Lesson Summary

        Overview

        Students watch three video segments about three different types of elephants to identify the similarities and differences among them. While viewing the segments, students take notes using a T-chart. Next, with partners, they categorize and organize their notes. Finally, students construct a poster-size, three-circle Venn diagram with graphic illustrations to show they are able to compare and contrast the characteristics of the three types of elephants.

        Why is this an important concept?

        When learners can take ideas from three sources and compare/contrast them, they can better comprehend the complexity of the ideas. Comparing and contrasting looks at the similarities and differences between or among ideas. Noting the similarities and differences in ideas leads to the ability to generalize, categorize, sort, evaluate, and understand new information.

        Grade Level:

        6-8

        Suggested Time

        (3) 60-minute periods

        Media Resources

        Materials

        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        Part 1

        1. Review what it means to compare and contrast. What things do you have to take into consideration?

        2. Make copies of the Unforgettable Elephants T-Chart handout
        and the Unforgettable Elephants Venn Diagram handout for each student and distribute.

        3. As they watch segment 1, Grassland Elephants, ask students to listen for the characteristics of grassland elephants. They should note what they are seeing, what the narrator is saying, and the sounds of the elephants. Allow students to listen and watch the first time through without writing.

        4. Then, show segment 1 a second time. This time while viewing, model, on an enlarged T-chart, how to note information in the Grassland Elephants column. Think aloud while listening, viewing, and recording on enlarged T-chart to show how you are selecting relevant information from the segment. After viewing, students copy what you have written.

        5. Play segment 2, Desert Elephants, this time asking students to listen for the characteristics of desert elephants. Then, show the segment a second time. While watching, students will complete the Desert Elephants column of the T-chart independently.

        6. Give students two minutes to share what they wrote with a classmate and add to their notes. Share in a whole-class discussion. Complete enlarged T-chart organizer with students responses.

        7. Now play segment 3, Forest Elephants. As they watch, ask students to listen for the characteristics of forest elephants. Then, show the segment a second time. While watching, students will complete the Forest Elephants column of the T-chart independently.

        8. Give students two minutes to share what they wrote with a classmate and add to their notes. Share in a whole-class discussion. Complete enlarged T-chart organizer with students responses. Describe how to organize notes. Using enlarged T-chart, show how to sort notes across the three columns into categories such as physical appearance, habitat, and daily lifestyle. Students should help you decide what categories to use based on the information from the T-chart.

        9. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for students to work with a partner to sort through their T-chart notes and organize their notes into categories. On the back of the T-chart, students write a list of four categories they will compare and contrast on the Unforgettable Elephants Venn Diagram.

        10. Collect T-charts and review them front and back before Part 2 of the lesson. Note which students need additional guidance and how well students comprehend the strategy. Re-teach as needed.

        Part 2

        1. Take students to the school or public library. Help them find books and other resources (i.e., the Internet) to find more information about elephants to fit the selected categories. Hand back T-charts.

        2. Working with a partner, students will fill in the gaps (i.e., they have information about the diet and food for two kinds of elephants but not for the third) and expand their notes from the video with information from these new resources.

        3. Students share their completed T-charts with a partner.

        For students who need additional teacher guidance:

        1. Review note-taking strategies before watching the segments.

        2. Provide assistance with taking notes while watching the video by pausing the video as needed and modeling note-taking for students.

        3. Color-code the T-chart and Venn diagram to depict in which part of diagram information belongs.

        4. Provide opportunities for students to view segments additional times.

        Part II: Assessment

        1. Working with a partner or alone, students transfer information from the T-chart to the appropriate section of the Unforgettable Elephants Venn Diagram. They will indicate by their accurate placement of information how the items compare and contrast with each other.

        2. When the Venn Diagram handout is completed, students create a well-presented, poster-size final copy of the Venn diagram. Students should include some type of graphic illustration of each type of elephant on the final poster-size Venn diagram.

        3. Score the final Venn diagram using the Unforgettable Elephants Compare and Contrast rubric.

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