Definition of a Mind Map
A mind map is a visual representation of hierarchical information that includes a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics.
Benefits of Mind Maps
How to Mind Map
All mind maps begin with a main concept or idea that the rest of the map revolves around, so choosing that idea or topic is the first step. Begin by creating an image or writing a word that represents that first main idea.
From that main idea, create branches (as many as needed), that each represent a single word that relates to the main topic. It’s helpful to use different colors and images to differentiate the branches and sub-topics.
Then, create sub-branches that stem from the main branches to further expand on ideas and concepts. These sub-branches will also contain words that elaborate on the topic of the branch it stems from. This helps develop and elaborate on the overall theme of the mind map. Including images and sketches can also be helpful in brainstorming and creating the sub-branch topics.
Mind maps can be created on paper but are more easily and fluidly created on a computer with mind mapping software such as Inspiration.
Mind Maps in Education and Teaching with Mind Maps
Mind mapping is a beneficial learning tool to help students brainstorm any topic and think creatively. Mind maps are particularly helpful in the writing process and provide students with a natural way of thinking and building thoughts on a story plot or theme.
Mind maps also provide teachers with insight into their students’ thought process regarding a specific topic. By asking students to create mind maps demonstrating their comprehension of a concept, teachers are able to understand what a student’s prior knowledge was and how well the student understands the assignment or the material being taught. This is a very effective way of evaluating students’ understanding.
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