Same and Different

  • Same & Different

    Same and Different (also known as Same, But Different) is a routine where two images are compared and contrasted. Students make mathematical comparisons and justify their thinking while calling attention to both how they are the same and how they are different. This apparent paradox is the beauty of the activity. It is important to notice the word AND. Instead of making a choice – am I going to prove that these are the same or am I going to prove that they are different – students are considering how two items can be both. This is a critically important distinction: Not “same OR different,” rather “same AND different.”  This activity can be extended by having students create a third image that relates to the other two images.


    General Outline for Same and Different

    1. Post the image for all students to see.
    2. Allow wait time for students to consider how the images are the same and different. 
    3. Provide time for students to talk with a partner (or small group) about their observations and their reasoning.
    4. Select a student to share.
    5. Encourage students to ask questions, revoice and rephrase in order to fully understand each other's thinking. 
    6. As time and interest allows, have other students share.
    7. To extend, have students think about and discuss what a third image that relates to the other two images might include.

    Some questions you might ask are: 

    • What do you notice?
    • What do you wonder?
    • What is the same in each image?
    • What is different in the images?
    • If you added a third image, what image would you add? Why? 

    Possible sentence frames: 

    • I notice that…
    • I wonder…
    • Both images are the same because _____________ and they are different because ________________.
    • My third image would include_____________ because_______________.

    Additional resources you might find helpful: