Help your students cast a net for enhanced learning by stringing ideas together into a network of connections and explanation. Both concept maps and mind maps are like graphic organizers but they emphasize much more inter-connectedness between the ideas and explanations portrayed. There is a simple and on-going exercise for using these tools in your classroom at the end of this post.
“Concept maps are tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts or propositions, (indicated by a connecting line and linking word) between two concepts. Linking words on the line specify the relationship between the two concepts. Joe Novak defines “concept” as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label.” Read more….
(Excerpted, rearranged (and annotated) from an online manuscript by Joseph D. Novak, Cornell University.)
Mind mapping is very similar but does not direct the maker to label the lines or connections between mapped items. In that regard, I think concept mapping is more helpful to a student in learning or understanding concepts while mind mapping may be a more freeing and creative exercise, which can help some students get the ball rolling with learning to make new connections.
Examples of mind maps from a science perspective and other links about mind mapping…
The link below has examples of mind maps from psychology and physics classes
For ideas about how different students can use mind maps
This is a journal paper about using concept maps in the science classroom.
Stringing or Linking a Semester Worth of Learning Onto a Poster Board
Start the semester by providing an avenue for progressive concept mapping. Place poster boards around the room with concepts central to A&P at the center of each poster board. These will become collaborative mind or concept maps with students (and you) adding on as the semester progresses. Use concepts like osmosis, acid-base balance, homeostasis, stress, automaticity, threshold, healing, protection or action potential as the themes for each map. Allow students to add to these posters as the semester progresses. Then when there is a lot of material present, you can have groups work together to re-arrange what is present with greater connectivity and organization in mind.