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Teaching With Analogies Model

©1989 Shawn M. Glynn
University of Georgia

Teachers use analogies to build conceptual bridges for students between what is familiar (an analog concept) and what is new (a target concept). The Teaching With Analogies Model (e.g., see Glynn, 1995, p. 27) includes these 6 steps: (1) Introduce the target concept, (2) Review the analog concept, (3) Identify relevant features of the target and analog, (4) Map similarities, (5) Indicate where the analogy breaks down, and (6) Draw conclusions. The steps are described and illustrated in the publications below.

The Teaching With Analogies Model is used extensively in science education to introduce students to concepts that represent complex, hard-to-visualize systems with interacting parts (e.g., an atom, a cell, photosynthesis, an electric circuit, an ecosystem). The model guides teachers, textbook authors, and website designers in their use of analogies. Research has shown that using the model increases students’ learning and interest. For more information, please see:

Glynn, S. M. (2008). Making science concepts meaningful to students: Teaching with analogies. In S. Mikelskis-Seifert, U. Ringelband, & M. Brückmann (Eds.), Four decades of research in science education: From curriculum development to quality improvement (pp. 113-125). Münster, Germany: Waxmann.

Glynn, S. M. (2007). Methods and strategies: The Teaching-With-Analogies Model. Science and Children, 44(8), 52-55.

Glynn, S. M., Taasoobshirazi, G., & Fowler, S. (2007). Analogies: Explanatory tools in web-based science instruction. Educational Technology, 47(5), 45-50.

Paris, N. A., & Glynn, S. M. (2004). Elaborate analogies in science text: Tools for enhancing preservice teachers’ knowledge and attitudes. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29, 230-247.

Glynn, S. M. (2004). Connect concepts with questions and analogies. In Koballa, T. R., & Tippins, D.J. (Eds.). Cases in middle and secondary science education (2nd ed.) (pp. 136-142). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Glynn, S. M. (2003). Teaching science concepts: Research on analogies that improve learning. In D. F. Berlin and A. L. White (Eds.), Improving science and mathematics education: Insights for a global community (pp. 179-192). Columbus, Ohio: International Consortium for Research in Science and Mathematics Education.

Glynn, S. M., & Takahashi, T. (1998). Learning from analogy-enhanced science text. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35, 1129-1149.

Glynn, S. M. (1995). Conceptual bridges: Using analogies to explain scientific concepts. The Science Teacher, 62(9), 25-27.

Glynn, S. M., Law, M., & Doster, E. C. (1998). Making text meaningful: The role of analogies. In C. Hynd (Ed.). Learning from text across conceptual domains (p. 193-208). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Glynn, S. M. (1996). Teaching with analogies: Building on the science textbook. The Reading Teacher, 49, 490-492.

Glynn, S. M., Duit, R., & Thiele, R. B. (1995). Teaching science with analogies: A strategy for constructing knowledge. In S. M. Glynn & R. Duit (Eds.), Learning science in the schools: Research reforming practice (pp. 247-273). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Glynn, S. M., Duit, R., & Britton, B. K. (1995). Analogies: Conceptual tools for problem solving and science instruction. In D. Lavoie (Ed.), Toward a cognitive-science perspective for scientific problem solving (pp. 215-244). Manhattan, KS: National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

Duit, R., & Glynn, S. M. (1995). Analogien--Brücken zum Verständnis. (Analogies--Bridges to understanding). Naturwissenschaften im Unterricht--Physik, 27(6), 4-10.

Duit, R., & Glynn, S. M. (1992). Analogien und Metaphern, Brücken zum Verständnis im schülergerechten Physikunterricht. (Analogies and metaphors, bridges to understanding in student-oriented physics instruction.) In P. Häußler (Ed.), Physikunterricht und Menschenbildung (pp. 223-250). Kiel, Germany: Institut für Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften.

Glynn, S. M. (1991). Explaining science concepts: A Teaching-with-Analogies Model. In S. M. Glynn, R. H. Yeany, & B. K. Britton (Eds.), The psychology of learning science (pp. 219-240). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Glynn, S. M., Britton, B. K., Semrud-Clikeman, M., & Muth, K. D. (1989). Analogical reasoning and problem solving in science textbooks. In J. A. Glover, R. R. Ronning, & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), A handbook of creativity: Assessment, theory, and research. (pp. 383-398). New York: Plenum.

Glynn, S. M. (1989). The Teaching-with-Analogies (TWA) model: Explaining concepts in expository text. In K. D. Muth (Ed.), Children's comprehension of text: Research into practice. (pp. 185-204). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Questions about the Teaching With Analogies Model? Contact Shawn M. Glynn.

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