They have been widely used in primary and secondary education (e.g. Duit 1991; de Bóo and Asoko 2000; Asoko and Boo 2001). Analogies are particularly suitable for use in physics (Reiners and Glynn 1995; Kircher and Hauser 1995). They are ideal for teaching principles relating to electricity (Dupin and Johsua 1989, Cosgrove 1995). Students can use analogies to relate with something they are already familiar with and see the similarities between the two systems.
It is difficult for students to understand how electric circuits function. The processes involved are invisible because they occur at the atomic level and thus are abstract in nature. Electricity can not be felt with using the personal senses (unless we receive an electric which is certainly unwanted), electricity cannot be manipulated directly, and what is happening is thus not readily apparent.
This open hands-on model building effectively combines theoretical and practical STEM skills. Analogies are ideal in supporting and complementing this practical model making and reinforcing the principles taught.
A schematic is a diagram of an electrical circuit. Schematics are graphical representations of the essential connections in a circuit, but they are not life-like depictions of a circuit.