Comparing things Side-by-Side

Comparing things Side-by-Side



Comparing objects is an important part of the learning process and engages a student’s critical thinking skills.

By using the “Place in the World'' feature to place multiple objects side-by-side, students can observe, compare, and contrast different 3D objects or simulations at the same time. This provides a powerful interactive learning experience, and can serve as a way for students to interact with mixed reality assignments and extension ideas located in the Merge Activity Plans.

In this article, you will learn about how your students can:

  • Compare and contrast different objects
  • Place objects in a series to show progression
  • Group objects to observe similarities and differences

Compare and contrast different objects


By placing two objects side by side, it is easy to compare and contrast. Some objects might appear different on the surface, but have certain characteristics in common. 

For example, the Tarantula and Monarch Butterfly are very different creatures, but they are both from the “Arthropod” collection. Have your students explore this collection of arthropods to compare and contrast their features, and find what makes them part of this diverse group of animals.

Place objects in a series to show progression


Object Viewer has a variety of digital teaching aid collections that show objects in various stages of development. The example above is from “Butterflies & their Life-Cycle”, which shows each life stage of a butterfly, from egg to adult.

By viewing these objects in a progression, students can note the changes that happen over time and can observe the various characteristics of each stage. Ask students why they think butterflies start out as caterpillars, and what advantage this might have early in their life.

Students can also use this tool as a reference for drawing a model or diagram in their science notebooks. How does a butterfly’s life cycle compare to another organism’s life cycle? Try placing the stages of the “Life Cycle of a Frog” next to the stages of a butterfly to compare and contrast.

Group objects to observe similarities and differences


The Place in the World tool can also be used to group like-objects, to compare and contrast whole categories. It can even be used as part of a mixed reality assignment, which uses both real-world and digital objects.

In the above example, students searched through the “Rocks” collection to find three of each type of rock: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. Using the place tool, students can place the rocks into a worksheet or poster board as part of a mixed-reality project. Have your students think about what makes up each of these types of rock, and what characteristics can they observe from the models that can help them put them in the correct category.


Now that you’ve learned how to place objects side-by-side in your environment, you can begin to use this tool to compare and contrast 3D objects and have your students create exciting mixed-reality projects.

Check out this article for more information about how to use the Place in the World tool.

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