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Mind Maps

9.4 Mind Maps

Mind mapping is a brainstorming technique in which a radial “map” is developed showing the relationship of a central idea to supporting facts and concepts.  The idea to be investigated is placed in the center, surrounded by series of supporting ideas (branches), which are themselves surrounded, by supporting information (twigs).  Figure 9.7 is a mind map for “energy”.  Note that four major ideas (units, uses, laws, forms) are connected to “energy”, and numerous secondary ideas are connected to these.  The mind map (figure 9.7) gives us a picture of what we know about energy, and allows us to add new information and ideas simply by adding additional branches and twigs.  Memory experts urge users to embellish their mind maps by grouping with colors, or adding drawings.

Activity 9.4.1  – Embellishing mind maps: If you were to look through the journals or notes of Leonardo daVinci, Albert Einstein, or Ludwig von Beethoven you would see mind maps with colors, symbols, arrows, and pictures to augment the written notes.  Memory experts encourage the use of these embellishments to promote better understanding and memory.  Embellish the mind map for energy or the circulatory system (figures 9.7 or 9.8) by adding color, symbols, diagrams, and/or pictures.  When possible, use meaningful colors, and always make drawings or diagrams that relate to the topics listed.  You may wish to transfer these mind maps, or portions of them, to large posters to allow for sufficient room for embellishments.

Activity 9.4.2  – Organizing information in a mind map

The following is a list of terms and ideas associated with water.  Organize this information into a logical mind map with at least three tiers, using as many terms as you can.  You may wish to use some of the following terms for main branches: chemical characteristics, common properties, biological uses, composition, locations in nature, human uses, etc.  Feel free to add additional branches and twigs. 

  • adhesion
  • albedo
  • aquifers
  • bond angle
  • cell structure
  • cohesion
  • colorless
  • coolant
  • cooling
  • density
  • Earth
  • estuaries
  • evaporation
  • geysers
  • glaciers
  • ground water
  • high heat of fusion
  • high heat of vaporization
  • high specific heat
  • hot springs
  • hydrogen
  • hydrolysis
  • ice
  • ice caps
  • irrigation
  • lakes
  • life
  • liquid
  • Mars
  • ocean
  • odorless
  • oxygen
  • perspiration
  • polar
  • precipitation
  • runoff
  • solvent
  • springs
  • steam
  • streams
  • tasteless
  • water cycle
  • wells

Activity 9.4.3 – Developing your own mind maps

Develop a mind map for a topic of your choice or one assigned by your instructor. The idea to be investigated should be placed in the center of a blank page, connected to four or five major related topics.  Each of these topics should then be connected to additional subtopics.  Write down everything you know prior to starting your research, illustrating concepts with simple diagrams, and color-coded branches. Add branches and twigs as you conduct your research.  Alternatively, you may wish to develop your mind map using software [, or search mind map software].