Easy as Pie: Learning About Analogies

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SWBAT read and write analogies to understand the connections between words.

Big Idea

Analogies are tricky because students have not practiced looking for similar relationships between words. This lesson explores analogies and gives students the opportunity to practice creating them.

What is an Analogy?

2 minutes

To start this lesson students need to understand the definition to what an analogy is and why we need to understand them. I start by writing the word on the white board and then choose some random students to get a dictionary to look up the definition. 

Once the definitions are found, I ask them to read them to the class and we have a brief discussion on what was said. I help them work through the definition and make sure that I add to that the biggest thing we need to remember is that the words involved will have a relationship. They will either be alike or show differences. I also tell the students that they will have to use what they know about vocabulary to figure out what word might be missing. This also might require the use of context clues to figure out those vocabulary words. 

Breaking Apart to Solve

5 minutes

To help students understand how to look for a pattern, I want to show them how I might annotate or make notes to help me figure out the analogy. I do this by writing the analogy "Carrot is to Rabbit as Peanut is to _______ " onto the white board. I make sure that I leave a good blank so they realize that a word is missing. Due to our great definition, I remind them that I am looking for a relationship between the words to make my analogy work. 

With the sentence I have written, I model how I would think about this to get the answer. During my think aloud, I tell the class that I am also going to annotate to help me remember what I was thinking. I start by with the word carrot and write the word food over the top, and then write the word animal over the word rabbit. I then "think aloud" that this word relationship is food to an animal so the rest of my analogy might follow this pattern. I then read the word peanut aloud and write food again over the top. I then model how I confirm my relationship of the words. Food was followed by animal and now the next part starts with food. I need to think of the animal that is related to the food. I ask the class for help and I have most of them leaning out of their chairs to answer by now.

To practice I found an animal analogies worksheet to help me give them to practice. You could run it off, but to save paper I use it to read from and have them write on their white boards. For the first few, I ask them to write the whole analogy. I then have them make the same annotations I did to show the word relationships. I then mix it up by giving different sides of the room different analogies to solve, and then you could have the girls solve one and the boys the other. I find when you do this it keeps students from just copying each other and trying out the strategy for themselves. We practice quite a few until they seem to show me with confidence their answers. 

Creating Their Own

10 minutes

The student practice is them creating their own analogy. The majority of the class feels fairly confident in finding the missing word. It is now time to have them practice writing their own. It is one ting to figure out the relationship, but to be able to find word relationships that help them explain an idea is much trickier. 

I decided to have students work with a partner to help them think through their thoughts. When working together they can talk their ideas out and also help each other create accurate analogies. The ability to talk this out and practice is always one of my favorite to watch. 

I ask that each group create two analogies that model the relationships between words we practiced. While they work, I walk around and help out. When groups have at least two down, I ask groups to share what they have come up with. Before they share, I remind them that we might have to help each other correct our analogies in order to get them perfect.