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Alike and Different

Purpose: To practice comparing and contrasting (analytical thinking)

Concepts Introduced:

  • Characteristics or attributes of items
  • Drawing relationships
  • Classifying

Materials needed:


  1. Show the picture of Sybil the Scientist from lesson #5 and discuss these concepts: A scientist:
    • makes careful observations.
    • looks for common characteristics (or attributes).
  2. This lesson involves looking at two things and trying to determine how they are alike and how they are different. Say to student: “Sybil enjoys thinking scientifically about the world around her. Often she will think about how two things are alike and different. Help Sybil decide how these pairs are alike and different.”

Activity 1 - Day # 6:

  1. Show student a pair of Sybil’s Scientific Pairs cards (or the actual items pictured on a pair of cards). Ask student to suggest ways these two things (a button and a zipper, for example) are alike – what characteristics or attributes do they share?
  2. Spend some time with this; don’t stop when the first lull in the thinking occurs. Students must get past the ordinary ideas that will come out first in order to capture the deeper, more creative similarities.
  3. After brainstorming comparisons for as long as possible, ask the student to contrast the two items by suggesting ways they are different.
  4. Follow this procedure for comparing and contrasting the other pairs suggested by the cards. Using an actual item when available may be more engaging for students, but for more abstract ideas, the cards themselves work best to stimulate brainstorming.

Activity 2 - Day # 7: Thinking about Alike and Different 1-2 and 3-4 pages

  1. Pull one or two of the scientific pairs from last week and discuss to remind the student of the importance of recognizing likes and differences between items.
  2. Distribute the Thinking about Alike and Different 1-2 worksheets. Help your student begin and work through. Students can write answers or orally give answers. Discuss through or when completed.
  3. Distribute the Thinking about Alike and Different 3-4 worksheets another day or later the same day. Work through answers listening for understanding of comparing and contrasting.


  • Discuss items each day that you see in different places and compare and contrast them.
  • Suggestions: Talk about how family members are alike and different as well as any items in child’s room - toys, furniture, clothing. Discuss foods at dinner.