An analogy is a comparison between two things that are usually thought to be different from each other, but that have something in common. Analogies help us understand something by comparing it to something we already know. It might sound a little confusing, but a few examples will make it easier to understand. Analogies can help build vocabulary and reading skills. Learning tools, like a thesaurus, can be very helpful if you get stuck when trying to use an analogy. You’ll often see something like this in school:
Bird is to feather as dog is to ________. (fur)
Hot is to Florida as _______ is to the North Pole. (cold)
Similes and metaphors are two types of analogies. A simile is a comparison using the words like or as. The lamp seemed as bright as the sun. He looked like a dog that had just come in from a rainstorm. A metaphor is a comparison without using the words like or as. The day was starting to feel like it was actually a week long. I picked the orange that reminded me of a basketball.
Once your students start understanding how analogies work, you can assign analogy activities using vocabulary words that challenge them. Choose a vocabulary study topic, like root words or frequently confused words, and then challenge your students to practice those words by writing analogies that include them. This will make for a creative and intellectually stimulating lesson plan.
A great way to practice analogies is with online games. The multisensory nature of online games helps all students learn, including English language learners (ELL) and students with special needs, such as children with autism.
You will find plenty of elementary analogy games to keep you entertained.