Posted: February 17th, 2022
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Learning Goal: I’m working on a biology question and need guidance to help me learn.InstructionsInclude at least 20 main concepts or words (one or two words max).
Feel free to add more concepts than the minimum of 20. Remember the idea here is for you to learn a new studying technique and to help you learn the associated material.
Connect each pair of concepts with a connecting phrase that describes how the two are related. This creates what is called a proposition.
Each connection should be written on a line that connects both concepts.
The connection should be complex phrases; not single words! (It is ok to start with single words, but go back and make the connection more complex later).
Don’t forget references and citations. (see below for more details)
Lack of references will result in a zero for the assignment.
SoftwareCreating a jpg is most easily accomplished by using one of these free programs to make your map.
Cmap tools. Great free program that resides on your computer. Use this if you will always have access to your computer and if you have the ability to add programs. Follow this link. http://cmap.ihmc.us/ This is the one I use. Do not use the one for cloud computing unless you are prepared to pay for it.
Lucidchart. Great program that resides in the cloud. Use this if you are borrowing a computer (friend, campus computer) or you do not have ability to add programs. Follow this link. https://lucidchart.com/ You can only save three maps with the free version. Use this if it is right for you!
As with all software, there is a learning curve. Make sure you allow plenty of time to figure it out.
How to Build a Concept MapIdentify a focus question that addresses the chapter, the problem, issues or knowledge domain you wish to map. For example, “What is __________ (fill in with topic of the chapter)?
Guided by this question, identify 20 concepts that are pertinent to the question and list these. For example if the question is “What is respiration” you might list lungs, breath, respiration, oxygen, capillaries, carbon dioxide, diaphragm, inhalation, exhalation, contraction.
Rank and order the concepts by placing the broadest and most inclusive idea at the top of the map. Usually there will be only 1-3 more general concepts at the top of the map.
Next select the two, three or four concepts to place under each general concept. Avoid placing more than three or four concepts under any other concept.
If there seem to be six or eight concepts that belong under a major concept or sub-concept, it is usually possible to identify some appropriate concept of intermediate inclusiveness, thus creating another level of hierarchy and priority in your map.
Pick one concept and connect it to another concept by drawing a line. This second concept might be above, below or next to it in the hierarchy.
Label the line with a few linking words (the more words the better to show your thinking).
The linking words should define the relationship between the two concepts so that it reads as a valid statement. The connection creates meaning between the two concepts. When you hierarchically link together a large number of related ideas, you can see the structure of meaning for a given subject.
Rework the structure of your map which may include adding, subtracting or changing concepts (e.g. substitute “gases” for “air”). You may need to do this reworking several times, and in fact this process can go on indefinitely as you gain new insights.
Look for additional links between concepts in different sections of the map and label these lines. It is likely that each concept has a relationship with more than one other concept. It is not wrong if you make 4 or 5 connections from one concept to others as long as the words on the line show their relationship.
View this video to see how to make a concept map.
Instructional Video to Create a Concept Map
Once you have your map made, go back and add more connecting words to the phrases. Recognize that “uses”, “part of”, “next” tells me nothing if you are connecting coffee and instructor concepts. But if you write, “a stimulant that allows a tired professor to engage his class” I know exactly what you mean!
Push yourself to make more complex connections between concepts.
References and CitationsAll submissions in class require references and citations, otherwise they will receive a zero for the assignment no matter how much work you have put into the assignment.
For a concept map you need to provide a citation with each connecting phrase that uses material from the text or some other source.
The concepts are nouns, terms. They do not need a citation. The connecting phrase does.
If you think your connecting phrase does not need a citation, then likley it is because it is too simplistic and you are not connecting the concepts appropriately.
GradingThere is no right or wrong concept map. There are right and wrong relationships between concepts. Spend your time focusing on the connecting phrases and making them the most correct and complex that you can.
At least 20 concepts or words (the majority of these should be nouns).
All 20 concepts are connected into one map (everything is connected to at least one other word).
At least 20 correct relationships are represented between each concept. This is where the points come from.
Make sure you read the associated rubric to see exactly how you will be graded.
Some helpful ideasThis is not an outline. This is not a mind map. It has some similarities, but it is different. If it looks like an outline or mind map, it is likely wrong.
There is no “Right” concept map. It shows your understanding at the moment. This will be taken into account when grading.
I’ve had students in the past work really hard to do the minimum. It becomes really easy to identify students that are trying to get the points without doing the work that this requires. Putting in the effort and work creates complexity in a map. Put in the effort, learn from this process; you will reap the benefits in understanding.
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