Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:05 AM

As a student at FIU this semester we have been learning about the great use concept maps have for assessing students. I want to know how would I be able to start using concept maps in a first grade class, per-say?

Cesia Ramirez
Cesia Ramirez
930 Activity Points

Sun May 11, 2014 7:12 PM

I love sidewalk chalk, and it is a great way to introduce the idea of concept mapping and even combine some physical/kinesthetic action. Imagine you were classifying animals as mammals, fish, birds, reptiles. You gave each child an "identity" then did the concept map of the categories in big circles on the sidewalk. As the children stood in the correct spot, connections could be made (say, connect those that breathe air.) I can think of lots of other ways to do concept maps but when you are working with small scientists, I'd suggest starting large.

Juliana Texley
Juliana Texley
1260 Activity Points

Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:08 PM

Cesia -

What a great idea to ponder!
I love mind mapping - concept maps can be an engaging activity at the beginning of a unit or assessment as you go through. At the elementary level I would use them to allow students the chance to explore and share their own knowledge (and misconceptions) about new topics. Students would write using a word wall to help them - we would brainstorm as a class first - or might use stickers with words and/or pictures on them. I'm a huge fan of cheap, bulk address labels.

I am currently teaching 9th grade Earth Science and we use concept maps to assess student understanding toward the end of the unit - students are encouraged to go back through their notes and make a concept map of the key ideas we have talked about and how they relate to each other. I'm sure this would work with early learners as well!

Here are two links I love for more information -
great article on concept maps

Learning Center Collection of Resources

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26190 Activity Points

Wed May 14, 2014 6:32 PM

Hi Cesia,
There is an excellent article called "Never Too Young for a Concept Map" that you might find helpful. It has a lesson written in the 5 E inquiry lesson model that uses a 3-D concept map. I hope this will inspire you to come up with other ways to integrate this research-based teaching and learning strategy in your science lessons.
Best wishes in your coursework and future teaching endeavors!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79328 Activity Points

Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:19 PM

Hi All:
I found an interesting article about Common Core and thinking maps.

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101470 Activity Points

Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:16 AM

Here's a 3-D one from American GeoScience Institute:

This one is basic and may help the students understand the concept maps better since it covers a known topic, weather:

Reading Rockets has a nice article and I especially like the third template as it has descriptive categories to help students figure out what to add and the relationships that exist in a concept map;

Margaret Stout
Margaret Stout
3400 Activity Points

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:42 PM

Flow maps, circle maps, double bubble, brace, and tree maps are all excellent for first grade!

Carmen Cruz
Carmen Cruz
2125 Activity Points

Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:30 PM

Here is a book chapter that can be found in the Learning Resources & Opportunities tab that you might find useful.

Creating Visual Thinking Tools
By: Jo Anne Vasquez, Michael W. Comer, and Frankie Troutman

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia
42660 Activity Points

Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:11 PM


My district is invested in Thinking Maps, and teachers are expected to use them even in the lower grades. I have found that the kids respond well to them and understand the material well when organized in the maps, provided they are used regularly to help shape their thinking.

All the best!

Naomi Beverly

Naomi Beverly
Naomi Beverly
19130 Activity Points

Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:48 AM

I found concept maps to be very helpful with my own notes in college, I use an app called iThoughtsHD from the apple store. I also see in my student teaching placement teachers use a lot of anchor charts. I think they're a good way to organize ideas and I plan to use them in my own classroom too. I really enjoyed the articles you all attached to this forum. I had no idea how much research is behind concept maps.

Vanessa Gil
Vanessa Gil
1590 Activity Points

Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:12 PM

All of this information was very useful because I am actually currently working on concept maps in my class. Side-walk chalk is a great tool to use for younger children! Overall, great ideas!

Larosa Etienne
larosa etienne
1220 Activity Points

Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:24 AM

Making concept maps with little ones can be feasible when simplicity is applied.  Students could write down bullets under the different categories or descriptions that they represent using pictures. Each fact could be several words and written in different colors.  Through these strategies, students tend to pay more attention to what they are doing as well enable them to recall the product, information, and experience though memory reliance; thanks to colors and images that the working and strong memory could remember using and for what.

Alexsandra Batard
Alexsandra Batard
965 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers