Mapping our concepts

Education is not learning of facts, but training of mind to think
– Albert Einstein

Concept maps are tools to understand the relationships between different ideas. They help us to think and relate one idea with other in a better way. Concept mapping was developed by Joseph D. Novak in 1970s. The idea of concept mapping is based on Meaningful Learning Theory of David Ausubel.

Concept maps are used to generate ideas, present ideas and diagnose misunderstandings. This is a handy tool for anyone and everyone who want to process their thoughts and relate ideas to each other.

In our science classroom, students were briefed about how to draw a concept map and how to summarize a chapter using concept map. It was quite a task for our 9th graders to fit all the topics of a chapter in a concept map.

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Concept map with diagrams of Animal tissues
concept map of chapter understanding matter
concept map of chapter understanding matter
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A concept map to explain ‘World of Matter’

Some of the students tried to use connecting words and phrases in the concept map to link the concepts to each other. Linking phrases and words help connect all of the ideas and thoughts on the concept map and bring some organization to the order of the concepts. Concept maps can be read as sentences starting from the main idea and working out along the sub-paths.

A concept map with connecting words and phrases to link the concepts to each other
A concept map with connecting words and phrases to link the concepts to each other

Through concept maps, students were able to communicate thoughts, ideas and concepts more clearly. Students could evaluate the concepts and could integrate new concepts with the older ones.

Concept mapping is a simple yet valuable theory of learning that teachers can use to evaluate a student’s level of understanding. Concepts are one of the hardest things for an educator to teach and for students to learn. Using techniques like concept mapping can help students build a skill they can use throughout their academic career to help them understand different ideas.

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