The instructions are such that the essay must both compare, provide similarities, and contrast, provide differences, for living in both types of areas. Compare and contrast essays are multi-paragraph compositions that explain ways in which two (or occasionally more) subjects are similar and different.
In these essays, compare means describing similarities between the subjects.
When a writer contrasts two things, he or she explains ways in which they are different.
After completing a unit of study on where people live, students should be able to provide several details about how life on a farm can be vastly different from life in a city.
A Venn diagram is an organizational tool formed by two overlapping circles that compare two subjects. Characteristics unique to each subject are written in the non-overlapping parts of the circle, while any similar characteristics are listed in the overlapping part.
For the social studies essay, start filling the Venn diagram in with what was learned about farm life and city life. Maybe that list includes items like working with farm animals, working with farm machinery, being outdoors, self-sufficiency, fewer neighbors, etc.
In a science course, topics could be based on comparing and contrasting two species of plants or animals, or comparing one theory in a given subject area to another theory.
Within a history course, an instructor could assign an essay that compares two historical figures, two time periods, two wars, or even two types of government.
It can be effective to use very specific examples, questions, and citations to make a point.
A compare and contrast essay is generally structured in one of two ways.