Analogical Processes in STEM Learning

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Columbus KL (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Scientific discovery and innovation requires a high level of scientific understanding, as well as the ability to see connections across fields. Analogical processes are central to both of these goals. Research in psychology and education has shown that the ability to notice and process analogies within and between domains is central to innovation and discovery. This session shows how analogical learning processes can improve understanding of key principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This session will present three innovative research projects that use analogy in different ways to support STEM learning. The first talk shows that analogical comparison can support learning fundamental strategies of scientific reasoning, such as formulating hypotheses and evaluating evidence. The second talk investigates the use of analogy in classroom mathematics teaching, and finds that incorporating techniques designed to facilitate analogical comparison improves children’s success in understanding classroom mathematics lessons. The third talk presents studies done in museum settings, in which children gained understanding of a basic engineering principle through analogical comparison. By encouraging young learners to use analogical mapping processes, we can improve their understanding of scientific principles and prepare them for further analogies that may lead to new discoveries.
Dedre Gentner, Northwestern University
Zhe Chen, University of California, Davis
The Role of Analogy in Learning Scientific Processing Strategies
Lindsey Richland, University of Chicago
Educating Students for Innovation in STEM: Analogy Is a Key
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