Analogies are a great way to teach students how to compare and contrast words, concepts, and ideas. They help students develop their vocabulary, critical thinking, and creativity skills. Analogies can also make learning fun and engaging using humor, imagery, and poetry.
In this blog post, I will share some activities you can use to teach analogies to your 4th–7th-grade students. These activities range from simple synonym/antonym practice to higher-level thinking skills such as writing situational and poetic analogies.
You will also find some resources that you can use to assess your students’ understanding of analogies, such as response cards, foldable organizers, game activities, and a Boom Learning practice that I created for this post.
Common Core State Standards
These activities align with the following Common Core State Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5.c Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5.b Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.5.b Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.
Be sure to get the handout. It includes the printables you need to complete some of the activities.
Analogy Activities for Middle Schoolers
Activity 1: Picture Analogies
Picture analogies are a fun and visual way to introduce the concept of analogies to your students.
For example, hammer : nails :: screwdriver : screws is an analogy that shows the relationship of tool and object.
You can find pictures to print using online sites such as Unsplash. Each card has a picture of something, such as an animal, a vehicle, food, or a season. You will need enough cards for each student in your class to have one.
To do this activity, follow these steps:
- Give each student a picture card and tell them not to show it to anyone else.
- Tell them they have to find another student with a picture that is related to theirs somehow. They can use synonyms, antonyms, or other word relationships to find their match. For example, if they have a picture of a dog, they can look for someone who has a picture of a cat (antonym), a puppy (synonym), or a bone (object).
- They should stand together and hold up their cards when they find their match.
- When everyone has found their match, tell them that they have to find another pair of students with pictures that are related to theirs in the same way. For example, if they have pictures of a dog and a cat, they can look for others holding a pair of pictures that are antonyms.
- When they find their match, they should form a group of four and hold up their cards.
- When everyone has formed a group of four, tell them that they have to discuss among themselves what is the relationship between their pictures. They should also write down their analogy using words, such as dog : cat :: lion : hyena.
This activity will help your students practice identifying and creating analogies using pictures. It will also help them develop their vocabulary, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.
These are the pictures I used for this activity:
hammer: nails :: screwdriver : screws (tool)
ice : fire :: city : country (antonyms)
Model T : Corvette :: baby : adult (age)
day : night :: winter : summer (times)
collie : dog :: motorcycle : vehicle (classification)
wet floor : fall :: texting while driving : car crash (cause/effect)
study : good grades :: tickle : laugh (action/result)
Activity 2: Analogy Videos
You can check out my YouTube links if you prefer your students to watch videos to learn about analogies.
Analogy Lesson: [1:54] This video is a short and straightforward introduction to analogies. It shows some examples of analogies using pictures and words and explains how to find the missing word in an analogy. It also links to online games you can play to practice analogies.
This video is a fun and catchy song that teaches students about analogies. It explains analogies, how to use them, and why they are important. It also gives examples of analogies using different word relationships, such as synonyms, antonyms, part to whole, cause and effect, and function and object.
The video also has some colorful animations and illustrations that show the analogies in action. The video is suitable for students of all ages who want to learn about analogies in a fun and engaging way.
Activity 3: Foldable Organizers for Word Relationships
One of the skills that students need to master analogies is recognizing different types of word relationships. Word relationships are how words are connected or related to each other, such as synonyms, antonyms, part to whole, cause and effect, and function and object.
For example, in the analogy hammer : nails :: screwdriver : screws, the word relationship is tool and object.
To do this activity, follow these steps:
In this activity, teachers will guide students to create three foldable organizers covering nine-word relationships. Templates for these organizers are in the handout.
To create the foldable organizers, teachers and students should follow these steps:
- Print the foldable organizers from the handout.
- Fold each template along the dotted lines. Cut on the solid lines up to the dotted line on the first section, as shown in the photo.
- On the front of each flap, write the name of the word relationship on the template. For example, on the first flap of the first template, write “Synonyms.”
- On the inside of each flap, write the definition of the word relationship and an example of an analogy using that word relationship. Teachers can use the examples from the handout or make their own. For example, on the inside of the first flap of the first template, write “Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meanings. Example: big : large :: small : tiny.”
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each flap of each template until all three foldable organizers are completed.
- Use the foldable organizers to teach and practice different word relationships with the students.
Activity 4: Round About Game for Analogy Practice
Round About is a fun game that helps your students practice analogies using synonyms and antonyms.
You must print out one set of analogy cards and a recording sheet for each student from the handout for this game. Cut the analogy cards apart before gameplay.
To play the game, follow these steps:
- Give each student a recording sheet. Tape an analogy card with a word on each student’s back. Instead of tape, I like to use lanyards. Students hang these around their necks so the information pocket hangs down their backs. It is easy to slip the word cards into the pockets of the lanyards for this activity.
- On the recording sheet, students have a list of analogies with the final word missing. To play the game, students walk around the room, looking for a word to complete each analogy. For example, if they see fast on someone’s card, they know this will complete the analogy – soft : loud :: slow : __________.
- When an answer is spotted, students write it next to the corresponding number on their recording sheet. They can only write down the word if they find it on someone’s card. They cannot use their own words or guess.
- Students continue this activity, completing as many analogies as possible until the timer goes off.
Activity 5: Analogy Activities on the Web
If you want to explore more analogy activities online, you can check out these websites I found. These websites have different types of analogy games, worksheets, and lessons that you can use to practice and improve your analogy skills. These websites suit 6th and 7th graders who want to challenge themselves with different difficulty levels and word relationships.
- Analogy Games for Kids: This website has a collection of online games to practice analogies. You can choose from categories, such as synonyms, antonyms, part to whole, and cause and effect. You can also adjust the difficulty level and the time limit. You will get instant feedback and a score for each game.
- Quia – Awesome Analogies: This website has a fun and interactive quiz that tests your knowledge of analogies. You will see a series of analogies with one word missing, and you have to choose the correct word from four options. You will get immediate feedback and an explanation for each question. You can also see your score and rank at the end of the quiz.
- Analogy Worksheets: This website has a variety of printable worksheets that you can use to practice analogies. You can download the worksheets for free, and they come with answer keys. The worksheets cover several word relationships and have different difficulty levels, from easy to challenging.
- Free Word Analogies Grades 7-10: This website has a free printable worksheet that you can use to practice analogies. The worksheet has 20 analogy questions that cover a wide range of word relationships. The worksheet also has an answer key and an explanation for each question.
Analogies are a powerful way to improve students’ vocabulary, critical thinking, and creativity skills. They can also make learning fun and engaging using humor, imagery, and poetry.