Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :
Pre-step…before sharing the published model: Have a discussion with your students to remind them what similarities and differences are. Discuss the importance of looking for thoughtful similarities and differences, which means ones that can be talked about in depth. If asked to find a similarity between The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, for example, saying "Both have page numbers" is not anything that can be talked about with depth, but saying "Both are about saving the world and about saving the soul" could be.
Give students two topics you've been studying and have them come up with one DEEP DIFFERENCE and a DEEP SIMILARITY between the two topics. For fun, you might have them also come up with a SHALLOW DIFFERENCE and a SHALLOW SIMILARITY.
Step one (sharing the published model): Read pages 14 – 24 (in our paperback edition) of Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife to your class. If you have a different copy, this section begins when Will observes a cat vanish into a parallel world. He proceeds to follow it through a portal, and ends up in this parallel world. He soon meets Lyra, who has also entered this parallel world from her own world. They soon discover that though many things are similar to all three worlds, there are some differences. The reading selection that is important for this lesson ends after they eat a meal.
After reading this selection, create a master list of similarities and differences on your board or overhead. Point out that the differences don’t have to be “big” things (Lyra doesn’t have baked beans in her world, for example), but they want to make sure they don't just look for "small" and easy things. Encourage them to find both big and small similarities and differences.
You may want to have a discussion about things that they would like to change about our world if they could (both big and small) as these might be interesting elements to base their parallel world on.
Tell your students that they will be creating an original narrative with a main character who enters a parallel world. Their character will have a goal to achieve in the story, and students will have to determine what will be similar and what will be different about this parallel world as they take their character on his/her adventure.