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Informal Science

Concept maps

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Cesia Ramirez Cesia Ramirez 930 Points

As a student at FIU this semester we have been learning about the great use concept maps have for assessing students. I want to know how would I be able to start using concept maps in a first grade class, per-say?

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1490 Points

I love sidewalk chalk, and it is a great way to introduce the idea of concept mapping and even combine some physical/kinesthetic action. Imagine you were classifying animals as mammals, fish, birds, reptiles. You gave each child an "identity" then did the concept map of the categories in big circles on the sidewalk. As the children stood in the correct spot, connections could be made (say, connect those that breathe air.) I can think of lots of other ways to do concept maps but when you are working with small scientists, I'd suggest starting large.

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Cesia -

What a great idea to ponder!
I love mind mapping - concept maps can be an engaging activity at the beginning of a unit or assessment as you go through. At the elementary level I would use them to allow students the chance to explore and share their own knowledge (and misconceptions) about new topics. Students would write using a word wall to help them - we would brainstorm as a class first - or might use stickers with words and/or pictures on them. I'm a huge fan of cheap, bulk address labels.

I am currently teaching 9th grade Earth Science and we use concept maps to assess student understanding toward the end of the unit - students are encouraged to go back through their notes and make a concept map of the key ideas we have talked about and how they relate to each other. I'm sure this would work with early learners as well!

Here are two links I love for more information -
great article on concept maps

Learning Center Collection of Resources

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Cesia,
There is an excellent article called 'Never Too Young for a Concept Map' that you might find helpful. It has a lesson written in the 5 E inquiry lesson model that uses a 3-D concept map. I hope this will inspire you to come up with other ways to integrate this research-based teaching and learning strategy in your science lessons.
Best wishes in your coursework and future teaching endeavors!

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

Flow maps, circle maps, double bubble, brace, and tree maps are all excellent for first grade!

Sue Garcia Sue Garcia 42675 Points

Here is a book chapter that can be found in the Learning Resources & Opportunities tab that you might find useful.

Creating Visual Thinking Tools
By: Jo Anne Vasquez, Michael W. Comer, and Frankie Troutman

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Cesia- My district is invested in Thinking Maps, and teachers are expected to use them even in the lower grades. I have found that the kids respond well to them and understand the material well when organized in the maps, provided they are used regularly to help shape their thinking. All the best! Naomi Beverly

Vanessa Gil Vanessa 1590 Points

I found concept maps to be very helpful with my own notes in college, I use an app called iThoughtsHD from the apple store. I also see in my student teaching placement teachers use a lot of anchor charts. I think they're a good way to organize ideas and I plan to use them in my own classroom too. I really enjoyed the articles you all attached to this forum. I had no idea how much research is behind concept maps.

Larosa Etienne larosa etienne 1220 Points

All of this information was very useful because I am actually currently working on concept maps in my class. Side-walk chalk is a great tool to use for younger children! Overall, great ideas!

Alexsandra Batard Alexsandra Batard 965 Points

Making concept maps with little ones can be feasible when simplicity is applied.  Students could write down bullets under the different categories or descriptions that they represent using pictures. Each fact could be several words and written in different colors.  Through these strategies, students tend to pay more attention to what they are doing as well enable them to recall the product, information, and experience though memory reliance; thanks to colors and images that the working and strong memory could remember using and for what.

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