Comparing and Contrasting: 5 Fun Lessons with Lions at Lunchtime

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

Comparing and Contrasting lessons don’t have to be boring! Lions at Lunchtime is the eleventh book in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.

Teaching the concept of compare and contrast is a fundamental skill in education and introducing this concept is through literature is a double bang for your buck. Let’s look at 4 different ways to practice compare and contrast in this book.

Comparing Lions in Fiction and Non-Fiction(ish)

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

“Lions at Lunchtime” provides a fantastic opportunity to compare and contrast how lions are depicted in fiction versus non-fiction.

Although the Magic Tree House series isn’t a non-fiction series, the lions in the book are portrayed as lifelike.

(Magic Tree House does have some accompanying non-fiction guides, but not one for Lions at Lunchtime.)

Throughout the story, students are listening to Jack’s refrain, “Where are the lions?” so we know they are close.

At the end of Chapter 8, we finally see the lions…under the tree with the treehouse! Students can explore the characteristics and behaviors attributed to lions in the world of the Magic Tree House series, as well as compare these representations to factual information about lions found in true non-fiction sources such as wildlife documentaries or books.

However, comparing lions in Lions at Lunchtime to the lion in “The Lion Inside” can also provide insight.

In both books, students can see the lion is in Africa, the lion has big teeth and the lion liked to rest.

In contrast, the lions rested on a rock (TLI) and under a tree (MTH),  the lions were afraid of mice (THI) and avoided giraffes (MTH), and the lions were solitary (TLI) and had a family or pride (MTH). This exercise encourages students to discern between imaginative storytelling and real-world facts, honing their ability to differentiate between the two.

Comparing Characters: Jack and Annie and Morgan le Fay

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

The main characters in the book Jack and Annie are typical early elementary students living in Pennsylvania.

The other human character in the story is Morgan le Fay, a mysterious person who appears in their tree house to give them their next mission.

When students compare and contrast these characters both are in books, in the treehouse, and are in the forest. Morgan le Fay is a grownup who wears a robe and is magical.

By contrast, Jack and Annie our kids who solve mysteries and wear clothes appropriate for children. The children also meet a Masai warrior At the end of Chapter 7 and talk to him in chapter 8.

Students could also compare and contrast the lives of Jack and Annie and the Masai warrior.

Comparing Characters: Lions to Giraffes

Within the African setting of “Lions at Lunchtime,” Jack and Annie encounter various wildlife, including lions, giraffes and hyenas.

Through comparing and contrasting two of these species, students can explore aspects such as physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, and diet.

This exercise not only reinforces the concept of compare and contrast but also enhances students’ understanding of biodiversity and the unique adaptations of different animal species to their environments.

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

Lions eat meat and sleep a lot. Giraffes eat plants and sleep little. However, both animals are in the jungles of Africa.

Comparing Setting: From Pennsylvania to Africa

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

One of the central aspects of “Lions at Lunchtime” is the transition from the familiar setting of Frog Creek, Pennsylvania to the exotic landscape of Africa.

Students can delve into the similarities and differences between these two settings, considering factors such as geography, climate, and culture.

By comparing and contrasting Frog Creek, a suburban town in North America, with the vast wilderness of Africa, students gain a deeper appreciation for the

diversity of environments across the globe and how they influence the lives of both humans and animals. Both settings have rivers, deer, and mud. In contrast, Pennsylvania has forests, honey in jars and common animals are dogs and cats. Africa has Masai warriors, animals such as lions and giraffes, and plains.

Comparing Climates: North America vs. Africa

Finally, “Lions at Lunchtime” offers an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the climates of North America and Africa.

Students can examine factors such as temperature, precipitation, and seasonal variations in each region, considering how these climatic differences impact ecosystems, vegetation, and animal life.

By understanding the distinct climates of these two continents, students develop a deeper awareness of the interconnectedness between geography, climate, and biodiversity.

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

This comparison can be part of a lesson about weather. Most early elementary students need to understand where they live contributes to how they dress and how they get food. You could bring in the Poem of the Week set Where We Live as a connection to Jack and Annie and Africa.

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

“Lions at Lunchtime” serves as a rich and engaging resource for teaching compare and contrast, offering students the opportunity to explore diverse topics such as lions in fiction and non-fiction, contrasting characters, contrasting settings, different animal species, and varied climates.

Through this literary adventure, students not only enhance their critical thinking and analytical skills but also cultivate a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the natural world and the interconnectedness of global ecosystems.

As educators, leveraging literature such as “Lions at Lunchtime” can inspire students to become lifelong learners with a curiosity about the world around them.

I have a Lions at Lunchtime set in my store with 35 pages of ideas for using this book. This book is also included in a 4 book set and a BIG Bundle of 22 Magic Tree House books.

If you are a longtime follower of my blog or have heard any of my presentations you know I love Magic Tree House books. I have several other blog posts using the Magic Tree House series to help with other comprehension strategies, but more importantly to excite students about reading. Below are some more blog posts if you are interested.

Cathy Collier

Magic Tree House: The Best Series for Early Learners

Kindergarten and Chapter Books? Absolutely

6 Reasons to Pre-Read your Books for a Better Read Aloud

Let’s Warm Up Our Skills and Summarize with Polar Bears Past Bedtime

Predicting as a Reading Comprehension Strategy…for the Love of Reading

Mentor Text: Thankful for Thanksgiving on Thursday Vocabulary Lesson

Homonyms and Multi-meaning Words: 4 Fun Lessons

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to Make Lessons Colorful

Need a ready-to-print companion set to Lions at Lunchtime? This set is for you. This perfect read aloud set is great for all ages. These activities can be used with many different grade levels. This set does not include comprehension questions or a comprehension test.

Includes: Lions at Lunchtime Word Card, 20 individual word cards, Predict-o-Gram Lions at Lunchtime, ABCs of Lions at Lunchtime, ABC Order using Vocabulary Cards, Syllables using Vocabulary Cards, 3 Writing Papers, 1 Vocabulary Gradient Poster and card, Ch, Sh, Th, and Wh Digraph Words Sorting Cards and Word Hunt, -an Word Family Cards (2 formats), L-Blends, Compare and Contrast, Master Librarian Collection Book and Master Librarian Card.

Comparing and Contrasting 5 Fun Lessons with "Lions at Lunchtime"

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