Mind-mapping a topic

Find something that interest your child for the best way to support his or her learning. Create a topic that includes most, if not all areas of learning with your child so they can help decide how they are going to do the topic and what they want to learn. Create a MIND_MAP to organise thoughts and ideas.


Mind mapping will help your children become:

  • good listeners and speakers;

  • rational, problem-solving and imaginative kids;

  • excellent self planners and goal-setters.

As well as getting them interested in a topic and taking ownership of it. You will be surprised just how much more knowledge and understanding they we gain by having a say in the planning of the topic.


So what is a Mind-Map?

About twenty years ago teachers introduced a technique to help their students organize thought. It was called “building a web,” or “webbing.” It was to help organise story writing content - and to increase ideas during brainstorming sessions. It was also used to help with reading comprehension from a story already read. It is now called mind-mapping and their has been research done that this technique may have a positive impact on learning for even very small children.


How to start a mind-map:

Use colour - lots of it. Use pictures - lots of them.

It all start's with a very large piece of plain paper. If you have A3 paper that's great or you could use some wallpaper (lining paper), which you can buy very cheaply and use for art as well as mind-mapping.

In the middle of the paper you write the title of your topic and draw a circle (or cloud or even a picture) around it.


An example of a mind-map

Extending out from the center, lines are drawn which link secondary facts or ideas, which may also be in circles. The web then extends as words and ideas are added. The result is a visual or graphic representation of the story or project.

As you can see from this example, a mind-map is very colourful and has pictures as well as words. It is also very confusing - That's because its not your mind-map.

Think of a mind-map as a snapshot of the inside of your brain. When you create it, it will mean a great deal to you and the person who helped in its creation, but maybe not very much to somebody else. When we think, we tend to think in images so use images. They say a picture can mean a thousand words.


Now you have your topic you can start putting down your ideas (its important that you work on this together).


Let's say our topic is going to be Ancient Egyptians. You might start like this.


Next your going to think of some questions you want to answer or some things you want to find out about while doing this project.


Questions can be put up in the corner of the page in a box so that they are separate from the mind-map.


Next you think about all the subject areas you can use while doing this topic. All topics are going to be different for this. But in most topics try to include Literacy, Maths and Art/Design.





Next comes the fun bit.

For each of the areas find fun ways to research the topic. It could be something like this-----


Literacy:

Write a letter to the pharaoh. (draw a picture of a letter.)

Read about the Egyptians.

How did they write? Write you name in hieroglyphics.

Plan a party for some Ancient Egyptians. (party hats)

Write a leaflet or poster.

Write a fact sheet.


Maths:

Find out how big the pyramids were.

How were things measured? Measure things around the house. (tape measure)

Research the Egyptian number system. Do some sums using Ancient Egyptian numbers.


History:

Draw a timeline.

Research - What is a mummy? How did they mummify people? What were the jars called? (mummy picture)

Name some of the gods.

How did they dress?

What did they eat?


Geography:

Look at maps and find Egypt. (map)

Research: What is the river called that runs through Egypt? Why was the river so important?


Art and Design:

Make a mummy and a tomb. Make a pharaoh's mask. Make a maze with traps to catch the thieves.

Make a model of the water system.

Create a museum of artifacts


ICT:

Research on the internet.

Make a Power-Point about the Ancient Egyptians.



And the list could go on and on. Remember to work on this with your child. You can do a little on the mind-map at first, but then more questions will come up and you will have to find ways to answer them, and add to you mind-map.

Have the mind-map visible each time to do work on the topic.


You can next work out what you will be looking at first.

For older children I would give a time that the project should be finished by. Then give your child a chance to demonstrate all their hard work by giving a presentation. You could even film the presentation to share with others.


Have fun.


If you need help relating to this then please get in touch.