Introducing Concept Maps

Below is my reply to an email a colleague sent me inquiring about how they might introduce their students to concept mapping.  I thought I would share my brief thoughts for comment and use:

I like to use familiar things to get students understanding the process of concept mapping. An example off the top of my head: Classrooms.  I am sure to have students write “connecting words” on the lines/arrows (shows thinking and makes the connection explicit – otherwise they just draw lines. :)

So some concepts for Classroom might be:


Then, some connections might be:

Classrooms >have> chairs >sat in by > students >taught by> teacher >uses> whiteboard.

I tell them to limit both concepts and connecting phrases to 3 words or less, any more is just making sentences.

Also, they usually start out by making just linear connections out from the middle with no “cross connections”. I ask them what would happen to a spider web if they made a web like that? So when I walk around I ask how they might connect concepts that are far away from each other.

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