Thinking Skills Guide Preface Introduction to the Model Scope & Sequence How to Use the Model

SOLVING ANALOGIES

A skill used to analyze and recognize the
relationship that exists between two things
in order to solve standard analogy problems.

Student Definition
Finding how things are related to solve analogy problems.

Synonyms

Metaphor - a word or phrase denoting one type of object or action used in place of another to suggest a likeness between the two

Simile - a word or phrase comparing two essentially unlike things.

Ratio - a fixed or approximate relation of one thing to another or between two or more things.

Why Teach
Analogy is a basic tool of language and thinking. It is used in everyday written and spoken communication, and it is essential to the language of science and literature. Analogy problems are widely used to evaluate verbal skills, as well as creative and analytical thinking.

Applications

  • Using a known to unlock the meaning of an unknown.
  • Solving ratio problems.
  • Understanding political cartoons.
  • Taking tests.

Objectives
Students will be able to:

  • Solve analogy questions that require the ability to identify and analyze relationships between components of the question, e.g., words, pictures, symbols, spatial relationships, numbers.

  • Metacognitive Objective
    Students will be able to:
  • Reflect upon their thinking processes when using this skill and examine its effectiveness.

Skill Steps

  1. Analyze and identify the relationship between the complete pair being linked. (Consideration of all possible answers to an analogy may also provide useful clues.)
  2. Categorize the relationship(s), if possible.
  3. Generate possible answers to complete the second pair and look for this items among the possibilities being offered. (Realize there may be a better answer on the list.)
  4. Analyze the relationship linking the first pair with all combinations for the second pair.
  5. Identify the best fit to determine the answer to select.

  6. Metacognitive Step
  7. Reflect upon the thinking process used when performing this skill and examine its effectiveness.
    • What worked?
    • What did not work?
    • How might you do it differently next time?

Vocabulary

  • Categorize - place in a category; classify
  • Classify - group entities on the basis of common characteristics, including labeling the group
  • A:B :: C:D - in this configuration ":" stands for is to and "::" stands for as. The statement thus reads, A is to B as C is to D.
  • Debrief - review and evaluate process, using both cognitive and affective domains to achieve closure of the thinking activity.
  • Metacognition - the act of consciously considering one's own thought processes by planning, monitoring, and evaluating them (thinking about your thinking).

Possible Procedure for Teaching the Skill

  1. Tell students they are going to learn the skill of solving analogies.
  2. Define analogy using the student definition provided. Use examples.
  3. Explain that analogy is a basic tool of language and thinking. Give examples of age-appropriate categories and discuss their attributes.
  4. Help the students generate additional examples.
  5. Introduce A:B :: C:D. Demonstrate, creating your own models or using a source such as the Miller Analogies Test or Barron's How to Prepare for the GRE General Test.
  6. Provide additional examples and ask students to discuss the word relationships.
  7. Present strategy for Solving analogies.
    1. Create a short sentence using the first two terms.
    2. Using the same sentence, substitute the third term and each of the answer choices in the same sentence.
    3. When the resulting sentence is both parallel to the original sentence and true, it is correct.
      Example
      Letter:word :: sentence:(A. story, B. page, C. correspondence, D. paragraph)
      Test sentence: After the letter comes the word.
      After the sentence comes the story. (too large)
      After the sentence comes the page. (could be one word)
      After the sentence comes the correspondence. (too large)
      After the sentence comes the paragraph. (parallel and true)
  8. Provide additional practice, letting each student work independently, but providing help where needed.
  9. Administer a short test.
Alternative strategy for introducing Solving Analogies
Steps1-6, same as above
  1. Tell students they are going to learn the skill of solving analogies.
  2. Define analogy using the student definition provided. Use examples.
  3. Explain that analogy is a basic tool of language and thinking. Give examples of age-appropriate categories and discuss their attributes.
  4. Help the students generate additional examples.
  5. Introduce A:B :: C:D. Demonstrate, creating your own models or using a source such as the Miller Analogies Test or Barron's How to Prepare for the GRE General Test.
  6. Provide additional examples and ask students to discuss the word relationships.
  7. Present alternative strategy for Solving Analogies.
    1. Acquire or create a list of common relationships between words.
    2. Identify the relationship between the first two words in the problem, e.g., part to whole, cause-effect, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
    3. Look for that relationship between the third word and each of the answer choices.
  8. Distribute the list of word relationships and ask students to use it to label relationships between word pairs you present.
  9. Ask students to create word pairs that demonstrte particular word relationships.
  10. Present analogy problems to the students and have them solve them together, referring to the list as needed.
  11. Provide additional practice, letting each student work independently, but providing help where needed.
  12. Administer a short test.

Integrating the Skill into the Curriculum

Create analogy problems using concepts and vocabulary related to the particular subject area. This strategy is also appropriate with numbers and mathematical symbols. Use an "analogy of the day" as a daily sponge activity.

Use an "analogy of the day" as a daily sponge activity.

Background Information

An analogy is a comparison between two things, pointing out the similarities or likenesses between things that might be different in all other respects. An analogy draws a parallel between common characteristics of two things and requires us to think analytically about forms, usages, structures, and relationships. Solving analogies is a skill that is heavily emphasized in the context standardized testing. In order tomprove student scores on standardized tests, analogizing must be an integral part of the curriculum. Although this application is the one most used in the educational context, and knowledge and training within that context help every student improve his or her access to higher education, analogizing is an important skill for other reasons. Understanding relationships and constructing parallel relationships are useful lifelong learning skills. Students preparing to take examinations, such as the SAT, MAT, Ross, etc., should refer to resources such as those listed below, since the tests may include styles and formats not covered in Solving Analogies.

Types of Analogies
Synonyms, Antonyms, Cause-effect, Part to whole, Part to part, Purpose or use, Place or location, Association, Sequence or time, Degree, Measurement, Grammatical, Nonsemantic, Action to object, Mathematical, Characteristic or description

Additional Resources

Bader, William. MAT, Miller analogies test. Prentice Hall Press, 1985.

Brownstein, Samuel C. Barron's How to prepare for the graduate record examination. Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1985.

The College Board. Taking the SAT I Reasoning Test. College Entrance Examining Board, 1993.

Related Skills

Attributing
Classifying
Comparing and Contrasting
Determining Cause-Effect Relationships
Generating and Testing Hypotheses
Predicting

 

Recognizing Reasonable Answers
Recognizing Spatial Patterns
Thinking Fluently
Thinking Originally
Thinking Systematically


Thinking Skills Guide - Solving Analogies