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Thinking Scientists: Analogies

Purpose: to provide student with the opportunity to examine various aspects of objects, pair them, and then find another pair that has the same relationship (analogies).

Concepts Introduced:

  • Continuation of creative thinking
  • Analytical thinking - the ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve, and make decisions.

Materials needed:


  1. Introduce students to the concept of analogies by providing some simple examples. The following are some possibilities:
    1. Hand is to glove as foot is to shoe
    2. Green is to grass and brown is to dirt
    3. Milk is to white and sky is to blue
    4. Pencil is to wood and Car is to metal
    5. Brick is to heavy and feather is to light.
  2. Ask students to brainstorm their own analogies to be sure they understand.

Activity 1: This activity can be completed in pairs with a friend or alone. Give out cut apart set of Sybil’s Picture Analogy Card Deck (page 125 only),

  1. Have the student organize the deck into a series of accurate analogies on page 125 first. Each analogy will use four cards and all the cards should be used to make four different analogies. You may possibly need to begin by assisting the student with the first set of four cards for understanding.
  2. Sybil’s Picture Analogy Card Deck allows for a variety of matchings. Some matchings are more obvious than others. Similar, opposite, action of the objects, characteristics, whole to part, object to group, or mathematical relationships are some of the matchings possible in the cards. Show students the deck of cards but do not tell them the possible relationships. Remind students that the order is important. For example, if the analogy is:
    1. Cat is to kitten as Dog is to puppy (It is important for the adult animals to be first on both sides)
    2. Stop sign is to red as “go light” is to green (It is important for the objects to be first on both sides or the colors to be first on both sides.)
  3. Depending on the student’s viewpoint, cards can be combined in a variety of ways. Some combinations may not be obvious, requiring an explanation from the student. Accept any analogy that offers a reasonable relationship. If no reasonable combination of cards can be found to complete the second part of the analogy, then the first part of the relationship and possibly other already completed analogies must be regrouped to make a larger number of correct analogies.

Activity 2:

  1. Have student use (cut apart , combined, and shuffled) cards on pages 126 and 127 to form analogies. As some combinations may not be obvious, require an explanation from the student. Accept any analogy that offers a reasonable relationship.
  2. Discuss all created. Student should create 8 sets from these two pages.


  • Discuss analogies throughout the week as you do various activities.