Drawing analogies

Duncan Sibley
Michigan State University
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Initial Publication Date: November 3, 2008


Students write analogies, describe similarities and differences between analog and target and draw inferences.

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Undergraduate general education science course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered


How the activity is situated in the course

Students do this exercise at least twice a week with new concepts.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal is to practice reasoning by analogy.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This provides students with a framework for developing models.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students work in groups during class or while doing online homework. They are encouraged to explore whether or not group members understand their reasoning.

Metacognitive components of the activity

The activity is designed to make the structure of reasoning by analogy apparent.

Metacognitive goals for this activity:

The goal is to help students recognize how they reason and learn about new concepts.

Assessing students' metacognition

Evidence to date is qualitative.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students practice frequently in class and do homework. Assessment is based on how well they draw and reason by analogy on tests.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

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