Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning


K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image


The use of analogies and metaphors are intended to jump start learning and engage students in a creative way to link prior knowledge to new information.



Students draw on their existing knowledge to complete fill-in-the-blank analogies about the concepts being studied. This strategy provides an opportunity for the teacher to assess the prior knowledge students bring to their learning as they connect that knowledge to the lesson's concepts.


  1. Provide students with a list of seemingly unrelated items that lend themselves to the concept being described.

  2. Students are asked to complete the sentence ”A (lesson concept) is like a(n) ____________ because ___________ .“ Students can be assigned multiple, similar prompts to complete about the same concept (optional).

  3. Students share their responses in pairs.

  4. Pairs share their responses and insights with the rest of the class.

  5. Provide feedback to help students better understand the lesson concepts.

Keeley, P.. (2008). Science formative assessment: 75 practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, SAGE.