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Synectic Comparisons strategy in vocabulary

Synectic Comparisons
Synectics is a strategy for comparing content to an unrelated object. It causes students to think
about vocabulary words in creative ways. In a synectic comparison, the brain has to compare
two things that aren’t usually compared. In addition, the strategy requires the brain to create
pictures as it searches for comparisons. As a result, students are more likely to retain the
information.
Steps:
1. Identify vocabulary words or content terms.
2. Provide students with words not related to the content. Students may use these words to
create their comparisons.
For example, if the science content term is comet, you might provide students with the following options:
Toaster Speed boat Ice cream cone Stallion
3. Create an example to model the synectic.
A comet is like a _______________ because ___________.
A comet is like a toaster because it burns very hot.
4. Share your example with the class. Explain your logic or thinking for the comparison. Give
students the opportunity to list additional ways that a comet might be like a toaster.
5.  Ask students to create their own comparisons. Students may work in teams or pairs. Allow
students to select from the comparison options you’ve provided or to select their own
objects for comparison.
6. Direct students to create a graphic illustration to accompany their synectics.
7. Direct small groups to share their creations with the class.
Adaptations:
• Assign different vocabulary words or terms to student teams. Each team is responsible for
“teaching” the assigned term to the rest of the class.
• Ask students to write a paragraph to accompany the graphic. The paragraph should explain
in more detail “how” the two items are related with specific examples

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