Teaching analogies is a great way to improve vocabulary skills beginning in the upper elementary grades. The Common Core State Standards include analogies beginning in seventh grade; however, teaching relationships between words begins with the younger grades.
- 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.
If you are looking for synonym and antonym analogy activities, check out this post Five Analogy Activities for Upper Elementary.
Activity #1 – Picture Analogies
I love to begin my study of analogies for older students with pictures. You need enough pictures for each student in the class to have one picture.
Step 1 ~ Tell the students that when the signal is given, they are to move around the room and find a picture that is related to the one they are holding. They are to stand with the person holding the related pictures until everyone is in pairs.
Step 2 ~ Once students are in pairs, a second signal will be given. Students are to move in pairs around the room until they find a related pair.
Step 3 ~ Once students are in groups of four, they must discuss among themselves the relationship of the pictures they hold.
Step 4 ~ Students share their analogy grouping with the class and tell the relationship among the four pictures.
I made a set of analogy pictures like the example set below and laminated them for repeated use. I use these pictures each year as an introductory activity to my analogy unit. The students enjoy the activity, and they really begin to understand the concept of analogies. [For lower grades, you may want to stick with synonyms and antonyms.] For fifth grade up, you will want to add additional word relationships such as:
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 – Video
These YouTube videos are great for younger students. They were perfect for my fourth-grade class.
Activity #3 – Foldable Organizers
This series of three organizers teach 9 different word relationships. Students can create all three in one class period or overtime.
Three versions of each organizer are included. The photographs show the completed organizer that is the answer key.
Activity #4 – Game Round About
My students love to play “Round About.”
Students receive a sheet with analogies that are missing the last word in the second pair. They must analyze the relationship of the first pair of words, and then find the final missing word on a classmate’s back. Next to the corresponding number on the student recording sheet, students write the answer. Even if you know a word that will make sense in the analogy, they must find the exact word on a classmate’s back before writing it on your sheet.
Included in the product are printable analogies with the final word left blank.
Activity #5 – Analogy Activities on the Web
Be sure to collect all analogy activities by visiting both blog posts.