This article outlines a theoretical framework for viewing students' conceptions and the effect of analogies on students' conceptions. There are several points involved in this perspective: (a) Components of students' conceptions can be considered to be at various levels—verbal‐symbolic knowledge, conscious models, implicit models, and core intuitions. (b) Components at the deeper, less articulated levels (especially core intuitions) are particularly entrenched. (c) Conceptual change in cases involving core intuitions can be considered to be the adjustment of attributive clusters for a class of situations. (d) In order to change the attributive cluster for a target situation, the target must be enriched with new concrete entities or features, providing nuclei for the reattribution of agency. (e) Analogies can help with this reattribution or refocusing by helping the student enrich his or her representation of the target situation.
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