by John P. Curtin
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet and educator, known particularly for his lyric poems. In this poem, he compares death to a mother leading her child to bed.Pair “Nature” with “A Lonely Planet Ponders” and ask students to discuss how poetry can enable the understanding of complex topics regarding life and nature. How do literary devices commonly used in poetry, such as metaphors and similes, help communicate confusing ideas? Why do they make these topics more accessible?
- Carl Sandburg
This short “American Haiku” examines fog over Chicago.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with "Fog" and ask students to discuss the similarities in the poems’ structures. What impact do the poems’ structures have on the overall understanding of the pieces? Would the poems be received differently if they had been written with a different poetic form?
The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” Jessica McBirney shares the story of the woman who was left alone on San Nicolas Island for 18 years.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island” and ask students to discuss how both texts portray the relationship between humans and nature. Who is in control of how events play out? To what extent was the lone woman in control of what happened to her?
Turn, Turn, My Wheel
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Turn, Turn, My Wheel,” a speaker watches in awe as a potter molds clay.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “Turn, Turn, My Wheel” and ask students to discuss the similar themes of fate. Do the authors of the two texts believe people have control over their fate? Why or why not? What literary devices do the authors use to explore these themes in the two texts?
What is an Eclipse?
The informational text “What is an Eclipse?” provides information about different types of eclipses and how they occur.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “What is an Eclipse?” and ask students to compare the different perspectives on the movement of celestial bodies in the two texts. How do both texts explore the power of nature? Do students think that the two texts agree about the power of nature? Why or why not?
What Is a Black Hole?
In “What is a Black Hole?,” the NASA Science team explains what black holes are, where they come from, and how they affect the universe around them.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “What Is a Black Hole?” and ask students to discuss the concepts of order and predictability in the context of both texts. How does the universe consist of patterns? How are black holes and the “lonely planet” similar in their relationship with the universe around them? How might the poem be different, if it were written from the perspective of a black hole?
What is an Orbit?
The informational text “What is an Orbit?” explains what an orbit is, the forces that allow objects to stay in orbit, and how both natural and man-made bodies orbit each other in space.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “What is an Orbit?” to provide students with another perspective on orbits. Ask students to compare how the two texts describe orbits. How does the poetic form of “A Lonely Planet Ponders” impact students’ understanding of orbits?
What Is Earth?
The informational text “What Is Earth?” explores what our planet is made out of and how it moves in the solar system.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “What Is Earth?” and ask students to discuss whether or not the planet in John P. Curtin’s poem could be Earth. How does Curtin use poetry to explore similar scientific concepts described in “What Is Earth?”
Voyage to Pluto
- Ken Croswell, Ph.D
In the informational text “Voyage to Pluto,” Ken Croswell discusses the New Horizons spacecraft’s journey to Pluto and what it learned.Pair "A Lonely Planet Ponders" with "Voyage to Pluto" and ask students if the experiences described by the planet in the poem is similar or different to how Pluto's world is described in the text. What might Pluto ponder about? How does the poem reflect some of the findings of the New Horizons spacecraft?
When Stars Explode
- Ken Croswell, Ph.D
In the informational text “When Stars Explode,” Ken Croswell discusses why a star explodes and what happens after.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “When Stars Explode” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore how the universe works. How does the poem explore the effects of gravity on planets? How does this compare to the effects of gravity on stars? How does the poem introduce ideas that are similar to those present in a nonfiction text?
Any More Earths Out There?
- Vicki Oransky Wittenstein
In the informational text “Any More Earths Out There?” Vicki Oransky Wittenstein discusses how astronomers find planets outside of our solar system and whether or not they could support life.Pair “A Lonely Planet Ponders” with “Any More Earths Out There?” to allow students to further explore the science that determines planets’ movements. How do the laws of science explored in the two texts help astronomers find new planets?