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Comparing and Contrasting Heroes
by Jerrilyn Jacobs , Taft High School
(Woodland Hills, CA)

Subject Area:    Art/Music, English/Language Arts, Social Science, Technology/Media Literacy

Grade Level:    pre-K, K-4, 5-8, 9-12, college

Overview/Purpose:

To identify qualities and characteristics that go into making someone a hero and the values and choices common to all heroes.

Objectives:

  1. To find the similarities and differences between heroes.
  2. To identify values that drive heroic action.
  3. To identify situations and choices that generate heroic actions.

Resources/Materials:

Enough computers with Internet access to comfortably accommodate your class.

Activities and Procedures:

Step One:


Go online to www.myhero.com and choose two heroes from the same category in the Directory.



Step Two:


Read the first story, with students taking notes on the personís background, characteristics, and actions. Mark with a star those qualities or actions which seem most important in making this person a hero.


Read the second story, with students taking a second set of notes on this personís background, characteristics, and actions. Mark with a star those qualities or actions which seem most important in making this person a hero.



Step Three:


Draw overlapping circles (Venn diagram) or make three long columns on a piece of paper. Where the circles overlap, or in the middle column, brainstorm things that the two heroes have in common. Record their differences in the outside areas.



Step Four:


Use the diagrams to generate a discussion about what values or actions the heroes have in common, and what values seem most important in defining a hero. Identify categories within the information. For example:

  • How do your heroes compare when it comes to family background (ethnicity, geographical location, economic status, family status)?


  • What was their career/job, and was this work related to their heroism?


  • Compare the heroic actions themselves, analyzing whether individuals worked alone or as part of a larger group, if their actions were acceptable or had critics, etc.





Extension Activity Ideas:

Use the information to write a compare/contrast essay.


Have two students pretend to be each of the heroes being compared, and let them present to the class how they are similar and different, speaking in the first person. Costumes or props can be added.


Have each student pick a hero and do a Venn diagram comparing information about the hero to his or her own life. Also identify areas where the hero shows inspirational characteristics the student would like to emulate in his or her own life.

Assessment:

 
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