A Concept Map is a visual organizer used to help students understand a new topic. It is an arrangement of key words and concepts related to a given topic. In the centre of a concept map, at least one fundamental ideas is listed. To demonstrate relationships between concepts, students draw lines to connect words and subtopics both to the central idea and to each other. Using a graphic organizer helps students think about a given concept in several different ways, thus increasing comprehension.
- Divide students into pairs or small groups and distribute a list of key words to each.
- Have students organize their words on a piece of paper or cardboard.
- Direct students to discuss how the concepts are connected to one another and where the words should appear on the map.
- Ask students to draw lines or arrows between the words, and to be prepared to justify their organization.
Concept maps help students make connections between new information and existing knowledge. They can be used to introduce a topic and find out what students already know about it, to gauge understanding as learning progresses, or to review ideas at the end of a unit. Through discussion related to their concept maps, students categorize and consider relationships between ideas and increase their vocabulary.