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Comparing Differences

This support material is incorporated into critical challenges at Kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10, however, it can be adapted for use at all grade levels.

The Comparing Differences charts help students record observations about the commonalities and differences between two people, objects, places or events. For example, students may compare changes in their physical features, from the time they were a baby to the present day, or differences in daily life in two communities or two time periods. The following documents can be adapted and re-saved for your needs.

How Much Alike? Word
This chart helps students assess the degree of difference between specific features present in two people, objects, places or events. To use the chart, students:

  • record or draw the features being compared in the left-hand column; e.g., hair colour, number of teeth, shape of body for physical features
  • place a check in the column that best represents the amount of difference between the compared features; i.e., nearly the same, some difference or a big difference
  • offer an overall assessment of the degree of difference: almost the same (i.e., the features are only slightly different), some differences (i.e., most features are different, but not that different) or very big difference (i.e., most features are very different)
  • share their conclusions with the class.

Assessing "How Much Alike?" Word
An assessment rubric is available for this chart.


Comparing Similarities and Differences Word
This chart helps students recognize a similarity and a difference between two objects of comparison; e.g., then and now. To use the chart, students:

  • draw a feature in the top box that is common to both objects
  • draw a feature in the two bottom boxes that is different in each case.


Comparing Versions Word
This chart helps students match one account or version with ideas they have developed. For example, students might use this chart to note how each of the provisions of an established quality of life indicator or a human rights charter is similar or different to a list of indicators or rights the class has developed. To use the chart, students:

  • identify major sections or parts of the account; e.g., UN Article # ___
  • list similarities and differences for each one; e.g., similarities to the class charter and differences compared to the class charter.


Adapted from Critical Challenges Across the Curriculum series. Permission granted by The Critical Thinking Consortium for use by Alberta teachers.

Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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