Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Love of Concept Maps

The Whole Concept Map
I have a secret love for concept mapping.  Not only do I enjoy making them but I truly enjoy watching a class of students all create different concept maps on the exact same topic.  It's so interesting to see how each individual interprets a broad topic in such different ways.  The best part about it is that since it is how a person makes sense of a topic, they aren't done incorrectly....well for the most part.
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Concept mapping is generally done with information in boxes or circles connected by lines that are labeled.  This type of activity is easily done in both Science and Social Studies classes, I usually use them in the Science classes
that I teach.  However, this year I decided to have my basic math kids concept map our entire Fractions Unit.

Now for all of my basic math students this is the first time they had ever done a concept map, and many of them struggled through it and they came out a mess.  Which for me is GREAT!  They are suppose to be messy.
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These are pictures of the one I had created.  I will update this post later with some student created concept maps, but some were hard to read/understand in person, and it was way worse in a picture.

In the past I have always done them on paper, and many times I still do.  I enjoy hanging them up around my room and having students keep adding to it each day.

Two years ago I got a classroom set of netbook computers and we were asked to implement them into our classrooms as much as possible.  I started off by taking something I already do in my classroom and do it on the computer instead.
Concept mapping was the first thing I started with.

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There are many different concept mapping tools out there, many of them free!  The few that I have used in my room and that my students enjoy are Concept Board, Popplet, and Mindomo.

My students prefer those three over any of the others because they can insert pictures into them.  Many of the concept mapping/mind mapping tools out there don't allow you to put pictures into them.   These three are also extremely easy to use.  Also some of them limit how many maps you can make with a free account.  After awhile a student can delete their old ones but mine like to keep theirs.

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Do you concept map/mind map in your classroom?  If so how do you feel about them?  How about your students?


  1. Great post. I love concept maps too. As you said, paper maps are becoming less frequently used in my room. I haven't tried the free computer tools you mentioned. A few months ago I came across this Concept Map offered for free by They will even give you a free long term membership if you are an educator.

    1. Thank! I'll have to check out the site you suggested. There are many other concept mapping tools out there but these are the ones that my students like the best.

  2. Very interesting Post.
    I work for the french ministery of Education.
    When I was teacher of History and Geography in a junior high school, I started to use mind mapping and concept mapping with my pupils . Now I develop projects about Innovation in Education with mind and concept mapping, Multiple Intelligences and digital. I train and help colleagues to use mindmaps and cmaps, Visual thinking and Multiple intelligences to build their projects. Thanks to share your work. We use cmaptools (for the teachers) and for pupils.
    My blog (in French) with the works of my pupils, and colleagues that I trained:
    My curation about this topics:
    Best regards


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