What is the best analogy to describe students

Christina Toschka and Katrin Sommer

Understanding analogies as a tool to gain knowledge

In everyday life we ​​often use analogies to explain, argue and solve problems. The saying “Many cooks spoil the broth” can be used to argue against democratic decision-making structures by means of an analogy. In teaching-learning processes, too, analogies are made to other areas that the students are already familiar with or at least more familiar with. This applies above all to dealing with scientific issues that are not directly accessible and understandable due to their complexity or their theoretical background [1, 2]. In order to be able to profitably use analogies in the classroom to understand new facts, students must learn to work with analogies. In this article, the concept of "teaching with analogies" [3] is presented and explained using examples for secondary levels I and II.
An analogy is a similarity relation (analogy relation) between two areas [1]. These two areas that have a similarity relationship are the target area and the analogy area. The target area represents the new issue to be understood. It is referred to as the original in this article. In contrast, the analogy area is more familiar or even known to the learners [3]. An area of ​​analogy can have different forms, as the following examples from (textbook) literature show: literary (apple warfare related to chemical equilibrium - see page 21), mental (structure of the solar system as an example for the atomic structure [4]) digital (simulation model for the synthesis of sodium chloride [5]), functional (functional model for mass spectrometry [2] or for volume contraction [2]) and experimental (model experiment on dust explosion [2]).
The comparison between the original and the area of ​​analogy makes it possible to identify similarities (analogies) and differences. This step is known as mapping and is at the heart of thinking in analogies (Box 1) [6].
The students are asked to think about numerous steps so that they can gain knowledge with the help of analogy areas. The cognitive psychological basis here is the process of analogy thinking. In principle, it comprises three cognitive activities that build on one another: retrieval / access, mapping and transfer [4, 7] (Fig.1). In a first step (retrieval / access), a rudimentary known target area is searched for possible analogy areas that should have similarities to the structural features of the target area [7]. The mapping follows on from this step. This leads to a systematic comparison between the features of the target and analogy areas and thus to the identification of similarities and differences. Individual components (materials and chemicals), properties or even more complex relationships between the components and properties can be compared [8]. In the last step, the transfer (also evaluation & use [4]), the knowledge about the target area is enriched by knowledge gained in the analogy area.
The totality of the similarities existing between an original and an area of ​​analogy is called the analogy relation. In order to introduce thinking in analogies as early as lower secondary level, examples are particularly suitable which - in addition to similarities in the relevant structural features - also have clear similarities in the surface features (i.e. the shape, color and name) to the original [1 , 9]. These surface features must be chosen so that they do not mislead the students. Then these increased surface similarities can ...