Spot the Difference

Spot the difference is a high energy, competitive activity that helps students develop and hone their observation skills. Students play Spot the Difference to train their eyes to closely observe plants and animals, and to find characteristics that make them the same species or a different species. Species observation skills built while playing Spot the Difference will be used by students during their fieldwork to help them decide whether or not the native or invasive species they are looking for is at their study site. They will need keen observation skills to come up with evidence to support their claim.

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)


You know how you sort of get caught up on the teaching treadmill, and neglect to use the resources available to you?

Well, I guess that is my only excuse for overlooking this lesson, in the rush of preparing my students for the field.

Envisioning them trying to use the species cards, I saw all the fancy botany terminology in the "leaf structure" graphic, panicked, and planned a whole class period around helping students learn how to use that particular tool.

I'm sure they benefited some from my self-designed "leaf lesson" using the species cards, but retroactively looking over this lesson, I wish I had chosen the route already mapped out by our friends at GMRI.

The game-playing element of "Spot the Difference" would have certainly been more engaging than my own drab lesson, and the subsequent competition around the species cards would almost certainly have brought out student questions about leaf terminology anyways.

Next time, I'm definitely employing "Spot the Difference".
And checking the Vital Signs lesson plans before trying to reinvent the wheel myself!