Analogies & Models in Science Education


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  •     Introductory discussion : What is an analogy? Can you give examples of analogies that you use to explain something in your daily life, for example when you explain something to your children? Mention special ways to use analogies such as models and role plays.    
  • Try to find as many reasons as possible.
  • Explain with an example: if students take the analogy too far, new misconceptions will be created.
  • Biology = cell as a city Earth science: heating of a car = greenhouse effect Physics: voltage = water pressure Chemistry: fan = electron clouds Demonstration of FAR technique
  • Make sure that students are sufficiently familiar with the analog before doing the activity.
  • Explicitly mapping the similarities and dissimilarities between the concept and the analog is important since it avoids creating new misconceptions with the students.
  • Demonstration of technique by facilitator. - Cell as a city
  • If possible analogy that they already use
  • The more students are involved in the elaboration and acting out of analogies, the more likely they are to accept the ideas you have in mind.
  • Sometimes every group will prepare the same role play; sometimes every group will play a different part, for example in a cell division process. Sometimes extra elements can be added to the play to strengthen the relation between the concept and the analog. Examples: Biology: Function and structure of a cell membrane Cell division: mitosis and meiosis   Chemistry: Chemical reactions involved in electrolysis Radioactivity and half-life time   Earth science: Solar and lunar eclipse Greenhouse effect. Why is Venus so much hotter than the Earth?   Physics: Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
  • They have the advantage that they can be seen and touched by students, increasing their familiarity with the analog and improving the relation with the concept.
  • During the brainstorm: Provide needed information to the groups, give tips and help students to develop their ideas. Provide sufficient time for students to find and develop analogies. Stimulate students to make drawings to illustrate the analogy. Asking questions forces them to think about the concept and will increase their understanding. Feedback: Avoid saying “this is right” and “that is wrong”, but praise students for their creativity. Use output later in Synectics activity.
  • Analogies & Models in Science Education

    1. 1. Analogies and Models Training in student centered approaches for science teaching
    2. 2. Introduction: What is an analogy? <ul><li>What is an analogy? </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of analogies? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you already use analogies in your teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>Describe how you use them (step-by-step) </li></ul><ul><li>Do you use them in a student-centered way? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Why analogies in science teaching? <ul><li>Browse the manual and select one analogy that you would use. </li></ul><ul><li>Why would you use this analogy in your lesson? </li></ul><ul><li>Compare your reasons with the list on following slide: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any reasons in the list you didn’t think of? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you agree with these reasons? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Reasons for using analogies
    5. 5. Use of analogies & models <ul><li>Analogies = Two-edged swords </li></ul>
    6. 6. Techniques <ul><li>Focus – Action – Reflection (FAR) guide </li></ul><ul><li>Synectics </li></ul><ul><li>Role plays </li></ul><ul><li>Models </li></ul><ul><li>Student Generated Analogies </li></ul>
    7. 7. Examples
    8. 8. Technique 1: Focus –Action - Reflection <ul><li>What difficult or abstract concept do I want to teach the students? </li></ul><ul><li>What prior knowledge do students already have about the concept? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the analog something your students are familiar with? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Technique 1: Focus –Action - Reflection <ul><li>What are the similarities between the analog and the concept? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the differences between the analog and the concept? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Technique 1: Focus –Action - Reflection <ul><li>Was the analogy clear and effective or rather confusing? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any changes to be made next time you use this analogy? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Example student worksheet <ul><li>Choose an analogy </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss and try to fill in the table </li></ul>
    12. 12. Synectics: multiple analogies
    13. 13. Role Plays <ul><li>students are involved in the elaboration and acting out of analogies </li></ul>more likely to accept ideas work together abstract thinking fun character
    14. 14. Role plays: sequence <ul><li>Divide the students in groups, depending on the scenario. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the general idea, but don’t go into much detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Student groups work together to distribute roles and develop a scenario. They take notes of their scenario. </li></ul><ul><li>Groups of students present their role play to the others. </li></ul><ul><li>The teacher organizes a class discussion. Students discuss correct and incorrect elements during the play and how they can be improved. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Models simplified constructions of reality low-cost materials
    16. 16. Models <ul><li>Try to let students discover the relation between the model and the concept for themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>The more they can find out themselves, the stronger they will make the relation between concept and model. </li></ul><ul><li>The point where the model does not correspond with reality (avoid misconceptions). </li></ul>
    17. 17. Student-generated analogies <ul><li>Students spontaneously generate analogies that are close to their daily life. </li></ul>relevant and accessible higher order understanding brainstorm
    18. 18. Student-generated analogies <ul><li>Divide students in groups (assign note taker) </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Students brainstorm about the analogy </li></ul><ul><li>Let groups present their analogy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where is the analogy alike the analog? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where is it breaking down? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask questions (or let students ask each other questions) </li></ul><ul><li>Give feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Input for later lessons </li></ul>
    19. 19. Exercise <ul><li>Select two analogies (or use your own) </li></ul><ul><li>Select two different methods and prepare lesson fragment </li></ul><ul><li>Group discussion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which questions do you use? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are students stimulated to think? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the analogy clear for all students? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you reinforce the analogy? </li></ul></ul>