Metaphorical thinking requires critical thinking skills, mental flexibility, creativity, and a deep sense of understanding between the topics or items being compared. It’s a great way to check for understanding–and to help explain an idea to someone else.
The basic question for generating metaphors to check for understanding or extend thinking is:
“In what ways is/are _________ and __________ alike.”
Q. In what ways are expository writing and trains alike?
A. Trains carry cargo or passengers along fixed routes in the same way that expository writing takes the reader on an informational journey. Trains stick to the rails the way expository writing sticks to facts, ideas, or instructions.
The following list are some suggestions for metaphorical thinking categories we have used in my classroom. Feel free to try this strategy, steal a metaphor, or comment with category ideas of your own.
- kitchen tools
- stores in a mall
- tools in a toolbox
- Disney movies or characters
- trees, plants, or flowers
- the ocean
- book or cartoon characters
- super heroes
- ice cream (or toppings)
- pizza toppings (things you put on a hamburger…etc…)
- snack foods
- fruits or vegetables
- types of transportation