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Compare and contrast - level 2

"Making students’ own lives a point of comparison supports access to new learning."

– Best Evidence Synthesis in Social Sciences – connections

Indian child standing against a blue background wearing a purple scarf.
Key competencies

Relating to others – students are able to respect similarities and differences, and look at cultural norms and universals.

Building conceptual understandings

Students explore how culture impacts the lives of communities, families, and individuals. They know there is a reason for every celebration through its expression of food, dress, dance, and decoration.

Image (right): "Yellow rosette", sourced on Flickr

Formative assessment opportunities

Can students describe their own celebratory experiences? Are they able to make relevant comparisons? Can they show an understanding of point of view?


  • Focus children on what they already know. Celebrations such as Christmas, or commemorations such as ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day may not be celebrated by everyone in the class, but all children will have some knowledge of them. Use the celebrations mural as a contextual focus.
  • Ask students what kinds of things they do during holiday times? Is there a certain way of blowing out candles or opening packages? Do they ever cross their fingers or make a wish on a wishbone? How do families go about opening presents on Christmas Day? How do they commemorate ANZAC Day? Compare and contrast responses and explore why people may do things differently.

Choose three Asian festivals or celebrations to focus on that have a level of commonality. These foci may be in a group, or individual inquiries, or as a whole class project. New Year is a good choice, or weddings as they are both celebrated in many Asian cultures.

It is a good idea to select more than two Asian festivals to provide opportunities for a range of comparisons.

  • Are any of these New Year celebrations seen in New Zealand? How are they modified and shared?
  • Begin each session reading a picture book, or listening to a celebration description from a class or community member. Use these narratives as the basis for your exploration of certain festivals.
  • There are a number of ways for children to find out the information they need to know about each celebration. Pictorial representations are easy to source and give children ready reference material.
  • Use e-pals to access primary sources, and set up relationships with students in your focus country. Children can develop relationships; interview a student about their lives, and about the significance of celebrations. Ask your e-pal to send an electronic “package” with images, songs, etc about the celebration.
  • Ask a community or whānau member to come and speak about a festival from an Asian culture. Children can prepare interview questions.


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