Relationship square: exploring new ways of thinking by following analogies

RELATIONSHIP SQUARE: exploring new ways of thinking by following analogies
Philosophy worksheet
Primary School

The children understand analogies.

Determine which term(s) you want to explore by means of analogies. For example, in the reports children gradually give the concept of ‘playground’ a broader meaning than just a place to play.

Choose an image for this concept. This is your key picture. Collect pictures of people, objects, buildings, nature, animals, situations, etc.

Place the prints in pairs and then create an analogy.
E.g. eating and canteen > just as you eat in a canteen like you … in the playground. Think of a number of analogies in advance to inspire the children.

MATERIALS pictures

Diagram, which you draw, for instance, on the board
(State a link between pictures 1 and 2.)


Apply the analogy to Picture 3 and expand.

View the ‘key picture’ together:
– What do you see? Who do you see?
– What is happening?

Define together the concept that matches the key picture (e.g. the playground). Tell them that you will think about this together, by comparing it with other pictures.

Hang the first pair of prints side by side above the key picture.
Let the children articulate the link between pictures 1 and 2.

E.g. canteen and sandwiches > the canteen is a place for eating; in the canteen you eat together with your classmates; in the canteen you can eat and drink, etc.

State the analogy and refer to the key picture. Use the word ‘Like …’ or ‘Just as …’.
Let the children complete the analogy.
E.g. You eat in the canteen, like/just as you …
o play in the playground;
o cycle in the playground;
o play football in the playground;

Encourage the children to think further by asking additional questions.

o What else do you do in the playground?

Note the answers on a flap under the second picture.

In the reports children have, for instance, completed these sentences:
1. You eat in the canteen, just like you … in the playground.
2. A swimming pool is full of water, just like a playground is full of … .
3. You decorate a Christmas tree with a streamer, like you decorate the playground with … .

Replace the first pair of pictures with a second pair. And, if necessary, the flap. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

The children draw or note the analogy individually or in pairs on one sheet.
Collect some drawings or keywords in addition to the key picture. Let the child articulate the analogy out loud while hanging up his/her picture or word. Compare the different answers.

– What thought exercises have you done?
– What did you experience as (not) difficult/fun in this exercise?
– What did you learn from this exercise?
– In which lessons or to which themes could you apply this exercise?

Bridge to philosophical conversation
You have thought together about a concept. During the exercise you collected input from the children. You can use this material to have a philosophical conversation, now or later. You could start with the question: What is …? Or think up a stimulating philosophical question, based on a comparison.
E.g.: Can a playground be a classroom?

Read more:

In the hoop: taking part in a philosophical conversation by presenting arguments
Who we are and what we do

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