Goals & Objectives:
Generally, the goal of a concept map is to relate ideas that already exist
in the students mental structures to new ideas and concepts. Some sample
objective statements can include:
During and after constucting the concept map, students will...
- understand the interconnectedness of concepts x, y, and z,
- understand concept x,
- connect related concepts in field x,
- express new ideas in terms of already internalized concepts,
- identify misconceptions,
...as determined by successfully attending to 80% of rubric items.
Before beginning a concept map, the students should have some knowledge
that can fit to the new concept. They should also possess an appropriate
Materials and Resources:
For synchronous applications: Online, a useful resource is a whiteboard
space. Additionally useful tools would include a synchronous chatspace
within which students can connect concepts.
For asynchronous applications: Students can create the maps using any of
the tools listed below or one provided/suggested by the instructor.
In all cases: Students should be given background knowledge on how to construct
concept maps and their purpose.
Guiding Questions for this Lesson:
How does concept x relate to concepts y and z? What do we already know about
concept x with relation to pre-existing cognitive structures?
Lesson Outline and Procedure:
- Students are presented with a centralized concept.
- The instructor then provides
instructions for the students to individually or as a group, synchronously
or asynchronously, link other concepts to the given concepts.
- The final
'map' is shared with the class or submitted directly to the instructor.
- If students do not have the prior knowledge, they will not be able to
contribute to the map and may not fully understand all of the linkages.
Some probing of student understanding should occur.
- Provide a sample concept map to give students ideas.
- If software is used to create the map, some form of tutorial should be
What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other
special needs? In situations involving a synchronous tool, accommodations
may need to be made to allow full participation by some individuals. Some
concept mapping software may not be amenable to screen readers and other
A synchronous session should typically allow for at least 15 to 20 minutes
to develop the concept map. As little as 1 to 2 days can be allowed in an
asynchronous setting once the topic has been revealed. It may also be done
as a summary activity after a lesson, for which the students would have the
entire lesson unit to work on the map.
Ideas for Lesson Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:
How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should
ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities.
Also, the conversation that occurs during the activity will help guage how
the students are enjoying various aspects and whether they are learning and/or
How was student learning verified? Participation can be assessed in group
exercises or discussion session. A rubric can also be set up to help guage
the quality of any final concept map.
Concept Mapping Software: (in no particular order)
- Ausubel, D. (1968)
Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston..
- Novak, J.D. & Gowin,
D.B. (1996). Learning How To Learn. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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