Similes & Metaphors Lesson Plan: How Does Figurative Language Enhance Writing?

Submitted by: Maria Jiram

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use BrainPOP resources to compare and contrast similes and metaphors. Students will explore how authors use similes and metaphors to enhance communication, and practice using these techniques in their own writing.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Compare and contrast similes and metaphors
  2. Identify how authors use similes and metaphors to enhance communication


  • Phrases or sentences that include similes or metaphors (written on chart strips or paper)
  • Access to BrainPOP and projector


similes; metaphors; prose; comparison; conjure; vivid


This lesson works best if students already have had some instruction and practice in using similes and metaphors. You may wish to use the BrainPOP Jr. movie on Similes to help build background knowledge. Be sure to preview the Similes and Metaphors movie to make sure it's appropriate for your students and objectives.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Project the Activity page for the class to see. Have volunteers suggest answers and type their responses. Facilitate a discussion around the activity regarding the difference between similes and metaphors.
  2. Show the BrainPOP movie Similes and Metaphors and then take the Quiz together.
  3. Ask students to pair up and then pass out the similes and metaphors chart strips or papers to each pair.
  4. Provide thirty seconds for pairs to label each phrase or sentence indicating whether it is a simile or a metaphor.
  5. Divide the board in two, with one side labeled “SIMILE” and the other “METAPHOR”. Have students write their answers on the board (or tape their sentences onto the board) in the appropriate column. Hold a class discussion to verify that all the phrases or sentences were placed on the correct side of the board.
  6. Engage the students in a questioning and discussion on the purpose of similes and metaphors. How do authors use them?
  7. Challenge students to find an example (either in their text, in a book, or online) for homework. Discuss the following day.