I start this lesson by asking students: How do bees gather food?
Then I ask: How do ants gather food?
Then I get students to think towards the objective of comparing and contrasting by asking: How are bees and ants similar? How are they different?
Then I share with the objective and tell students that today we are going to read two articles- one on bees and one on ants to compare and contrast how they are alike and how they are different.
I created this unit to teach students how to use graphic organizers with compare and contrast and how to site evidence to support opinions. See the for my reasons for the format of the scaffold lessonsLink
I first review the graphic organizer with students so that I can give them a purpose for their reading.
We read the topics of the graphic organizer together and I tell them that we will read with a purpose to complete the first column on bees. (this practice helps students practice a test taking strategy of reading questions first and then reading with the purpose of finding the evidence for the correct response)
I read the bees article aloud with students following along and I do a think-aloud of identifying the text evidence together
As soon as I see them grasping the research facts I pull sticks or have students think-pair-share with a partner and call on them more to give the correct answers rather than doing the think-alouds.
I now ask them to complete the second reading passage on ants just like we did the section on bees.
I circulate to make sure they are referencing their bees facts to monitor their responses to the ants article. I also want to check for reading comprehension and struggling students. (strugglers can be paired or brought to the small group for assisted lessons)
I set a timer for 20 min. to motivate students but adjust it to ensure all have time to respond accurately to the organizer prompts.
Here's an overview of what I'm looking for on their organizers as I review student responses
When they complete the top section, I ask them to analyze their data to determine how ants and bees are different and complete the last question. This is often done on an individual or small group basis due to the speed and comprehension of students varying, but if you see the entire class at the same completion time have them all start as one group. Here's some examples of the ways they can complete this section - example 1 and example 2
Early finishers complete the additional response comparing humans and bees and ants.
I gather students back together and ask them - Are bees and ants more alike or more different?
I then ask them - Who is smarter, bees or ants? (I want to lead them towards my objective of writing an expository response choosing a side in the next lesson) They are disappointed when I share that they will need to figure this out for themselves. Good researchers can use comparison and contrast of information to determine the facts.
I do share that I did some research, similar to what they will do, and found an article written by an expert in this field. I tell them that he is a professor in the field of IQ (intelligence study) and that he has been studying this very topic - who is smarter bees or ants? He posted this article which I read to them after asking them to listen and try to decide for themselves
After I read it to them, I ask them what they think about the issue now? I take a toll of which is smarter based on the evidence we just read? I ask "How can we measure someone's intelligence? Is it how well or hard they work? How quickly they figure out tasks or challenges? Their survival instincts? I have a short discussion but I want to leave them still wondering so that I can reignite their interest in this topic in the next lesson.