1 Introducing mind maps

Activity 1: Looking at mind maps

You should try this activity on your own, or with a colleague. You will need to refer to Resource 1.

Look at the examples of mind maps on a variety of topics.

  • What do they all have in common?
  • Which do you think would be the most helpful and why?
  • Imagine you were trying to explain to someone how to draw a mind map. Make a list of instructions that they could use.

It is important to remember that the process of constructing a mind map is just as important as the end product. The features that all mind maps have in common are:

  • the main idea, subject (heading) or focus is identified in a central image, word or phrase
  • the main themes (sub-headings) radiate from the central image as ‘branches’, which may be drawn in different colours
  • topics that are further removed from the central idea are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branch.

A good mind map will be well-organised and will contain lots of detail.

Before you ask your students to draw a mind map, it is helpful for them so see some examples. In Case Study 1, Mr Ditta used a game to introduce mind maps to his Class X.

Case Study 1: Games and mind maps

Mr Ditta introduces mind maps to his class.

Exams were approaching and I wanted to find ways of helping my students to revise. I like using mind maps to organise information, so I organised a game to help my students understand some of the benefits of mind maps.

First of all I drew a detailed mind map of acids, bases and salts [see Resource 2]. I put it on a table at the front of the room. I divided my students into groups of four. There were 40 students in the class, so that made ten groups. Each group had a large piece of paper and one student was chosen to be the scribe. Only that person was allowed to write anything. The idea was that each group would make a copy of the mind map.

One person from each group came to the front table and had 20 seconds to look at the mind map. They went back to their place and had to tell the scribe what to write. After about a minute, another person in the group then came to the front and looked for 20 seconds. Each person in the group had two ‘looks’, except for the scribe, who just had to write what they were told.

At the end I stuck my mind map on the blackboard so that they could all see it and compare it with theirs. We had a vote about which was the best one and then I asked that group to describe how they had tackled the problem.

Petra had taken the lead and organised a systematic approach. She went first and had had memorised the six branches. She then instructed her classmates to concentrate on one of the branches so that they could get as much detail as possible. It really highlighted the structure of a good mind map and I am sure it helped when they did one for themselves. Also – it was good fun. They did not realise that they had actually done some good revision of acids, bases and salts!

Why this approach is important

2 Drawing a mind map