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ERIC Number: EJ868227
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Of Water Troughs and the Sun: Developing Inquiry through Analogy
Cowan, Kay W.; Cipriani, Sandra
Young Children, v64 n6 p62-67 Nov 2009
Visual intelligence is a key element in the thought processes of the most capable and creative among individuals, and this intelligence is closely related to analogical thinking, a learner's ability to make connections between prior knowledge and newly presented information. This article describes an approach to teaching scientific inquiry at Eastside Elementary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where each inquiry lesson begins with a drawing or other visual literacy connection. Drawing, by its very nature, encourages visualization, which in turn positions the learner to think metaphorically. What is novel about this approach is that the children are on a perpetual search for patterns. The lessons--drawn from a study carried out by the first author of this discussion (Cowan 2001) and from adaptations of lessons from "The Private Eye" (Ruef 1992)--lead children to recognize, describe, and extend simple repetitive patterns. Children collect data through their senses, paying particular attention to what they can see. As a part of each lesson, children look closely at objects or structures, search for repeating patterns, and guess or hypothesize about the nature of the objects, based on their prior knowledge and the observable patterns. This article also discusses how analogies form a foundation for scientific inquiry.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee