Introduction to the Bridge Map

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SWBAT write and state analogies using a Bridge Map.

Big Idea

Seeing analogies requires critical thinking. In this lesson students discuss what a Bridge Map is used for and we take an easy concept to help the students learn how to use the map.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     Analogies, or relationships are around us everywhere.  Most of the time teachers only introduce analogies as students get older and they need to prepare their students because it's going to be on the standardized tests. I remember seeing analogies for the first time in 6th grade.  They were part of our vocabulary time. I was always good in English so I just muddled through trying to figure out analogies. When I was being trained in Thinking Maps, I saw how Dr. Hyerle uses the bridge map to explain analogies.  I thought to myself, "If I only knew this as a kid!"

      Young children can understand analogies, and this understanding helps with their critical thinking skills and reading comprehension (they become quicker at understanding relationships and comparisons).  We can start building children's critical thinking skills from an early age by helping them to see analogies.  This lesson is going to be helpful because later in the year some of your students may be ready to incorporate analogies into their writing, too. When students read analogies in complex text, they are also engaging with figurative language.  Students need to grapple with figurative language, determining what the author is trying to convey to them. This represents a new approach in my teaching as a result of the Common Core standards - that I require students to use rigorous, higher-order thinking skills when doing things like reading and creating analogies.

     Today, as students problem solve to determine the analogous relationships among words they will have to think about what the relating factor is and then think of certain words and the relationship that exists among the words that fit with the relating factor.  This addresses standard L1.5a and L1.5b.  To get a better understanding of what I mean by this, check out the video in the guided practice section.

     For today's lesson you'll need either the Smartboard Introducing Thinking Maps or Activboard lesson Introducing Thinking Maps.  You'll also need to make a copy of the Bridge Map Student Copy Bridge Map for each of your students.

Modeling/ Guided Practice Section

20 minutes

     I brought my students to the carpet and had them sit in front of the Smartboard where I had my Bridge Map projected.  I said, "Today we are going to learn about something called analogies.  An analogy is where we compare two things and explain what they have in common." Then I wanted my students to feel really confident  I said, " When I was a kid I didn't learn analogies until I was in 6th grade, and here you are learning them in 1st grade.  You guys are hot stuff."

     I introduced the map by saying, "This is a Bridge map.  We use a Bridge map to describe analogies.  I am going to model some analogies and we'll work together on a few first.  Let's look at this line called the relating factor. The relating factor tells us what our two objects have in common.  I am going to write "is the opposite of" on this line, because the first analogy we will practice will show how are two things are the opposite of each other. If you look at the map you will see that there are straight lines and things that look like mountains.  The straight lines are bridges in between the mountains because they show how the ideas are connected. "

     I proceeded to show the students how we would use and read the Bridge Map.  There is a great deal of instruction in this section, and, for the sake of not being too wordy in this section, I've created a video for you that shows the analogies we will work on in this section and how to read the map. You can also see an example of what you can expect of your students in the independent practice section. For further guidance just watch here Guided Practice Bridge Map . 

     We worked together on our analogies. The analogies we worked on were:

  • the relating factor shows "the opposite of"
  • the relating factor shows "has the job of"
  • the relating factor shows "is a type of" 

     I explained these in detail in our video, I just wanted to reiterate the three analogies we worked on together in this section.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

     I sent the students back to their seats and passed out the bridge maps to them.  I pulled up a blank bridge map on the Smartboard and on the relating factor line I wrote "is the color of".  I had my students write this on their relating factor lines.  Then I said, "Your job right now is to come up with some analogies where you show the relationship of the object with the color.  You will keep going until your whole bridge map is completed. When I see that everyone is done, we will partner up and you will read your analogies to a partner." 

     I circulated around the room, supporting students with segmenting words so they would be able to spell them.   Some of my students still say to me, "How do you spell ? ....."  I help my students segment words and tap the sounds out on their fingers so they can be independent with their work.  I don't want my students seeing me as the supreme master of knowledge.  They need to see just how much they can achieve on their own.

     After my students were done with their maps, I partnered up my students.  One person was Person 1 and one was Person 2.  Person 1 took their turn reading their map first and Person 2 listened, then Person 2 took a turn reading their map as Person 1 listened.  The students were engaged and because I told the students my expectation for speaking and listening, we didn't have any fights over turn taking.


3 minutes

     I like my closures to be short and sweet.  I just wanted to ask my students some questions that referred back to our goals for the lesson. The questions I asked my students were:

  • Why do we use a Bridge Map?
  • What is an analogy?

     Then I asked my students if anyone would like to share their maps with the class.  This was just one more way that I could assess my students' understanding and give them a chance to consolidate their learning.  

     If after you've done this lesson you decide you'd like to incorporate more Thinking Maps into your daily lessons, I have some resources for you here.  The first is this article. I also have this Examples of Thinking Maps and this Bridge Map Examples for you. I also have a pdf that shows you how to incorporate Thinking Maps into reader response activities Reader Response With Thinking Maps.   Finally, I also have a video I've made for you that shows you how you can save and modify the maps on the Smartboard lesson so you don't have to keep remaking the maps when designing future lessons.  You can watch the video here How to Save and Modify the Thinking Maps.