Analogies can be a powerful tool for teaching higher order thinking, and strong performance in analogies is thought by some to be the greatest predictor of creative and flexible thinking.
This first paper is a beautiful study by Wagner and his group at Stanford. It shows the different anatomical 'filing' away in the brain of words that are merely related and those that are true analogies - related by functional relationships or representations. It's the analogy that is foundational for higher order creative thinking. Understanding how one system could be related or differentiated (the analogy breaks down) from another leads to new theories, new models, and new paradigms.
Teaching with analogies can be a powerful approach for gifted thinkers. We've included two links to teachers' sites discussing the use of analogies in teaching. Please send us your favorite links or books too - we'd like to hear about them.
Anatomy of Analogies
Teaching with Analogies
Teachers views of analogies and models as motivators