Grade levels: 8, but may be modified for 6/7 or 8/9

Lesson Objective:

By using a Venn diagram as the graphic organizer, the students will write one compare and contrast paragraph focusing on the differences and similarities in climbing equipment between the 1900’s and 2000’s.

** If unfamiliar with compare and contrast paragraphs, go to:


  • Venn diagram- below is a link if you do not have your own
  • Access to the internet
  • Modern day climbing equipment (can be found at local climbing gyms)
  • Pictures of historic climbing equipment: (or actual examples if available in your area)


(7 minutes) First, grab students’ attention by showing them climbing equipment.
Begin discussion:
What is this for?
Who’s used it before?
Safety? Etc...

(4 minutes) Next, through projector, overhead, pictures, or real equipment (which ever you have access to) show climbing equipment from the 1900’s. Again, have a discussion surrounding this.

(5min) Handout Venn diagrams, and have a teacher’s copy either on an overhead, or poster paper. Begin labeling the diagram with differences in the 1900’s, similarities from both eras and again differences in 2000. Have students copy on to their sheet. As a class, write one difference in the 1900 on the left, one similarity b/t 1900 and present day in the center, and on the right one difference with present day equipment.

(5min) With a partner, complete the Venn diagram trying to come up with at least 3 more points.

(10 min) Using the internet, students will do quick research finding more information on present day, and 1900’s climbing equipment- attempting to get three more points for each section of their Venn diagram.
Some information sites are:
(10 minutes) The students will now transfer their information to the paragraph organizer, thus giving them an excellent sense of how to write a compare and contrast paragraph. Use the site below:

(45 minutes) Now, the students are ready to begin their first draft of their paragraph. Begin by reviewing the criteria for a compare and contrast paragraph, on the board, model the topic sentences for the class, and have the class begin.

Go through your class procedures for revising, editing, etc... the paragraphs until the final draft is complete.

As a conclusion, have the paragraphs displayed in the class, compiled as a class project, or have a “coffee shop” in which the students have an opportunity to read their work.