Concept Maps enable students to represent their knowledge or understanding about a topic in a graphic or visual way. This open-ended exercise prompts participants to draw or write what they think about a topic and draw connections or links between related ideas. Concept Maps can be used to gauge the level of familiarity that students have with a topic at the beginning of a program, as well as to assess how their understanding changes over time.
When to Use: At the beginning and end of a project; at intervals along the way
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
Participants: Youth, Adults, Educators
- Paper or Concept Map template, markers
- Start with the central idea or question in the middle of the page
- Draw related ideas with levels of hierarchy and specificity with lines connecting to main idea
- Add examples and focus on connections between related ideas
Formats: Concept maps can explore ideas in different ways.
- Similarities and differences (Venn Diagrams)
- Relationships as part of a process (Food Chain)
- Main concept with supporting or related topics (Mapping)
- Outlines - main themes with increasing levels of detail
- Guidelines for using Concept Maps from The Eberly Center - Carnegie Mellon University
- Different forms of Concept Maps from The Learning Center - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill