Category: teaching techniques

mind mapping…

So last week we were pelted with a terrible snow/ice storm the night before a physics test.  Little did any of us know that it would put us out of school for four days (6 days when you count the weekend).  As the students came back on Monday there was no way I expected them to be ready for their test.  We both needed a few days to get back into the swing of things.

Enter mind mapping…

Both of my classes (regulars and honors physics) ate it up.  I pitched them the idea (like a good salesman… I mean teacher has to do) and they got to work on mapping out their unit.  Some drew creative pictures, some used circles, some squares, some even used different colors to help organize their materials.  It was beautiful.  I then broke them into groups of 2 or 3 and had them compare their mind maps.  I encouraged them to check for accuracy, borrow things they liked from other maps, and continue to develop their review maps.  We discussed visual learning and how some students are wired to be more visual.  We tied it into our future education and how this is especially useful with larger amounts of material (college exams, finals).  Not only did we get all of that from the 25 min activity, but they also reviewed their test material.

So was is mind mapping???

Mind mapping is a visual organization of material.  It is taking notes in a graphical manner (per the Wikipedia article).  It’s basically what I’ve always done on my napkin at my favorite coffee shop, but now I know the formal name.  I never used this while I was growing up in school but had I known about it I would have used it all the time.  The way I think about it is mind mapping takes all the papers on my constantly messy desk (different yet connected ideas) and places them neatly in the filing cabinet (some portion of my brain for storage and recall).

A quick google image search will provide you with a ton of examples.

If you are an educator or any sort, I highly recommend incorporating this idea into your classroom.  The benefits will be two-fold.  First your students will learn a new technique for learning.  Secondly they will benefit from the review or organization of course material.