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Lesson Plans
Exploring Nonfiction Text
3rd–5th Grade

CCSS Reading: Informational Text
  • RI.4.5: Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts or information in a text or part of a text.

Materials Needed

Explain to students that they are going to learn about some different types of buildings and architecture by reading a nonfiction selection. Tell students, “Today we are going to see how the author uses the organizational strategy of comparing and contrasting.”


  1. Give each student a copy of the “Artful Architecture” reading selection.
  2. Invite students to take a look at the information and pay attention to how it is organized. You may want to point out that in nonfiction text, authors often organize their writing to help readers better understand what they are reading.
  3. Explain that one of the ways to organize this information is by comparing and contrasting.
  4. Ask students to look for comparing and contrasting language, such as “different,” “same,” “in contrast,” “but,” “like,” “unlike,” “however” and “as well.”
  5. Read aloud (or have students take turns reading aloud) the articles in the text.
  6. As you read, pause to ask students to compare and contrast the information they are reading. For example, you could ask, “How are homes in Africa different from homes in Switzerland, Thailand and Mongolia? What do all these homes have in common? How are they different?” Ask students to cite evidence from the text to support their answers.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with different articles so that students understand how the information they are reading can be compared and contrasted.

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a 9-inch square of light-colored construction paper.
  2. Instruct students to fold the square in half to form a triangle. Then tell them to fold it in half again to form a smaller triangle.
  3. Have students unfold the paper and cut along one fold line, stopping at the intersection of the folds.
  4. Ask students to choose two types of pyramids mentioned in the reading selection, and have them write three facts about each pyramid on the top triangles.
  5. Prompt students to draw a picture of each pyramid on the back.
  6. Then, on one of the bottom triangles, have students write what the pyramids have in common.
  7. Finally, have students overlap the two bottom triangles so that the writing is on top, and have them glue the triangles together to make a 3-D pyramid.

View the 3rd–5th Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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