A concept map is a set of linked keywords, as shown in the example below (which is a concept map about concept maps), with the subject in the middle.
I usually do concept maps in three stages. For the first stage students to choose the keywords they will use – I usually get them to work in pairs and write down on a piece of paper what they think are the ten most important keywords from the topic.
The next step is to cut the keywords out and arrange them on a piece of A3 paper so that they can be linked together. This involves a bit of thought. Once they’re arranged the words can be stuck down.
The final stage is to link the keywords together. For visual clarity it’s useful if the links can be made in a different colour to the keywords. The more links the better – some may need to be quite long/curly to get from one keyword to another depending on how well they planned their keyword arrangement. They can also add more keywords at this stage if they realise they’ve left something important out.
I sometimes then do peer assessment of the concept maps – pairs swap maps and give marks and comments on certain criteria, like:
- number of links
- quality of links
You can get them to use the standard marking framework at your school if you like. Then if any of the concept maps are particularly good you can stick them on the wall – they can look quite nice when done well.