Teaching with analogies

It’s a typical day at Butterfly Fields, thrashing out yet another science concept and this time it is “Electricity” — trying to explain the flow of current in a conductor. What is the best way to teach this concept to students? And in this pursuit we turned to an analogy.

What is an analogy? An analogy draws on the similarities between two otherwise unrelated concepts, seeking to explain the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar. The familiar concept is called the analog and the unfamiliar one, the target.

We have been using analogies to explain the unknown for as long as we can remember. From early cave men, who due to their lack of knowledge in numbers, used sticks to count the number of sheep they had to the modern men explaining scientific discoveries, analogies can be seen in almost all subjects.

Over time, analogies started becoming the backbone to understanding any intricate scientific discoveries. Newton, for example, used the bouncing of a ball off the wall to explain laws of reflection of light. Later, Einstein explained his thought experiment on theory of relativity through an analogy. In fact, the understanding of how the most famous particle, the “Higgs Boson”, interacts with other particles is again based on an analogy than on a concrete experiment or theory. Today, you see analogies taking up a pivotal role in the explanation and communication of intricate ideas.

The article has been contributed by Butterfly Fields, a company working in the domain of innovative teaching-learning techniques. To know more about the work the company does, visit www.butterflyfields.com or call 040 2771 1020..

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