Students learn basic facts about giant and lesser pandas, then categorize same or differing characteristics onto an online Venn diagram.
- Compare and contrast two species' characteristics.
- Complete a Venn diagram.
- Practice Web browser navigation skills, including moving from one window to another
Venn diagram, comparison contrast, same or different
- Student access to a computer
- Internet access
- Printer access
- Paper and pen/pencil
Teaching students to identify similar or different concepts can be
challenging. Why not use online resources and tools to make learning
about comparing and contrasting fun? This activity can be a whole class,
small group, or individual assignment. Let the panda-monium begin!
Discuss with students how to compare and contrast two topics. Ask
them to compare and contrast items they are familiar with -- pizza served
in the school cafeteria versus a popular delivery service pizza, for
example. Ask: What's the same? What's different? Make lists of
the characteristics students mention and label them "the same" or "different."
Draw a Venn diagram on the chalkboard. (See 2-Circle Venn Diagram if you need a refresher.) Copy the characteristics
of the two pizzas into the diagram: Characteristics of the school pizza
go in one circle; characteristics of the delivery service pizza go in
the other circle; characteristics both pizzas share go in the area of
the circles that intersect.) Discuss the diagram with students.
Tell students they are going to learn about a kind of panda that many
of them might not had known existed, the lesser panda. Explain that
they then will compare and contrast the lesser panda and the giant panda.
Walk students through the steps below. (Note: This also can be demonstrated
by a teacher at a single computer that is displayed via projector or
TV monitor to the entire class.)
- Open the Internet.
- Go to Globio's Wolong
Nature Reserve, the home of both lesser and giant pandas.
- Click File>New>Window to open another window. (This works in Internet
Explorer, Netscape Navigator, or Safari.)
- Go to Education World's 2-Circle
- For Project Title, type "Giant and Lesser Pandas: Same or Different?"
- Type your (student's) name in the By blank.
- Type Giant Panda in the circle one field and Lesser Panda in the
circle two field.
- Click Next.
- Do NOT close the Venn diagram window, but do go back to the Wolong
Nature Reserve window.
- The first characteristic to compare or contrast is where the pandas
live. Read the first paragraph on the page to find out where giant
and lesser pandas live.
- Go back to the Venn diagram window (without closing the Wolong Nature
Reserve window), and type Habitat in the Concept blank. Type "China's
forests in the mountains" in the description blank.
- Find the thick orange line under the Concept blank. Drop and drag
that line, which will move the word Habitat, into the mauve/tan section
of the diagram where the two circles intersect.
- Repeat the previous two steps for each of the following characteristics:
Endangered Status and Food. (Be sure to drag and drop results for
both characteristics into the appropriate area of the diagram.
- Click the link for lesser pandas found underneath the last picture
on the Wolong Nature Reserve page and read about lesser pandas. Then
click the More Lesser Panda Facts link at the bottom of the second
- On notebook paper or an index card, write down facts about lesser
pandas' size, color, lifestyle, lifespan, and threats.
- On the left side of the lesser panda facts page, click Giant Pandas,
and then click More Giant Panda Facts. Compare the facts about size,
color, lifestyle, lifespan, and threats for giant pandas with those
for lesser pandas.
- Return to the panda Venn diagram and add the five new concepts and
descriptions for both kinds of panda. (Drag the concepts to the giant
panda, lesser panda, or intersecting circle.)
- Click Finish and Print (You must print the Venn diagram; it will
not be saved online.)
When their diagrams are complete, have students turn them in for a daily
grade. Discuss the assignment with the entire class. Ask: What did
you learn about pandas? What was fun, easy, hardabout the activity?
Students will be assessed on their
- Understanding of comparison/contrast, as evidenced by their completed
- Reading comprehension, as evidenced by the accuracy and thoroughness
of the list of concepts in their diagrams.
- Web browser skills, as evidenced by their ability to work with two
windows at the same time.
Lesson Plan Source
GRADES K - 4
NS.K-4.1 Science as Inquiry
NS.K-4.3 Life Science
GRADES 5 - 8
NS.5-8.1 Science as Inquiry
NS.5-8.3 Life Science