Paper with the word "Engineering" and hand written lines with additional notes on related conceptsConcept 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

Sample Process: 

  • 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