Compare & Contrast Trading Card Lesson Plan

Subject: English-Language Arts

Grade Level: 2nd – 5th


  • This lesson can be adapted to your grade level by modifying the written assignment to fit your grade level standards.  (For example, fourth/fifth graders can write a four paragraph essay with an introductory paragraph, a paragraph comparing the players, a paragraph contrasting the players, and a concluding paragraph.)
  • It is recommended that this lesson take place over a couple of days.  You may want to introduce and practice using the Venn Diagram in one class session.  The next class session could be modeling how to use the Venn Diagram to write the compare/contrast essay and then having the students draft their essays.


Students will be able to compare and contrast two professional athletes and write their noticings in a paragraph (or essay).

Anticipatory Set:

  • Choose one student to stand next to the teacher.
  • Ask the class to come up with ways that the student and the teacher are similar.
  • Ask the class to come up with ways that the student and the teacher are different.


  • Explain to the class that when we tell how things are similar, we are comparing.  When we tell how things are different, we are contrasting.
  • Show a Venn Diagram and model how to use it.
  • Write the name of the student on the line below one circle and write the teacher’s name on the line below the other circle.  
  • Have the students help you fill in the Venn Diagram based on the students’ responses from the Anticipatory Set.
  • Explain that this Venn Diagram is like a planning sheet and can be used to write a compare/contrast essay with the information in the circles.  (You may want to model this the next day.)

Guided Practice:

  • Partner each student with another student.
  • Have partners practice filling in a Venn Diagram so that they are comparing & contrasting themselves.

Independent Practice:

  • Pass out two sports trading cards to each student.  Make sure each student has trading cards of players that play the same sport.
  • Have students independently fill in the Venn Diagram for their two players.
  • Using the Venn Diagram, the students will write a paragraph comparing and contrasting their players.  You may want this to be completed on a different day.


  • Have partners share their athletes’ Venn Diagrams.
  • If students wrote compare/contrast paragraphs or essays, they can share their writing with a partner.

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