Why use metaphors?
Understand the concept (abstract?)
Solve a problem with new perspective
Think about topic from a different
We are threatened by the strange.
Helps to connect with something
Helps to make sense of unfamiliar
Promotes cognitive dissonance and
constructivist learning ideals
Option 1: Force it.
Goal: Improve a flashlight.
Metaphor: Attend medical school.
Improving flashlight is like
attending medical school
Attend class/talk to
Learn how to
Insulate myself from
Practice on cadavers
Package first aid kits
Incorporate a radio
Include mace for
Insulate flashlights to
Include a miniature
Option 2: Give options.
Pick a problem.
Can’t sell copiers
Want to increase library usage
Can’t get the car to start
Can’t motivate students
Need to design a swimming pool
Now pick an analogy
Your favorite sports team (hint:
Make the familiar
State your challenge.
Choose a key word or phrase.
Choose a parallel or distant field.
List the images you you associate with
your chosen field.
Look for similarities and connections
between the two.
Tips for Parallels
Chose a field you know well.
The more detailed the better. (Instead of
restaurants, think Taco Bell.)
Finding parallels...use wikipedia....
Or even... nature, accounting,
birds, football, China, comics,
dance, mafia, mining, reality
television, ballet, WWI, sailing,
jungles, insects, bowling...
Questions to Scaffold
How is teaching like football?
How is the water cycle like Taco Bell?
How is Charlie (chocolate factory) like
Manny (modern family)?
How are sine graphs like lighthouses?
Give students the concept. (Discuss/
Create a list of potential analogies.
Have them create the attributes and
Describe the similarities and
Design your own analogy.
Fantasy Analogy: Fantastic,
farfetched, craziest situation possible.
Symbolic Analogy: Oxymorons
Personal Analogy: Empathy, become the
A teaching analogy...
How is teaching like a movie?
What makes a good movie good?
What makes a bad movie bad?
HOW WAS ____ DISCOVERED?
CAN WE REPLICATE IN THE
Analogies can be used to help students
connect unfamiliar content to the
Analogies can be used for inspiration
and problem solving...even within the