Mapping Concepts across grades - Sample topic - magnetic fields

Steps to create a concept map

  1. Decide categories of information to include on the map. I could of course focus only on concepts or it could include additional information.
  2. I selected for this sample: a topic, the ideas or concepts, the experiences that might facilitate it's learning, standards or benchmarks, and final outcome as explained in Science for All Americans. - see blank sample map template .
  3. Select a topic to map. Magnetism. - see added to the map template.
  4. Identify information students know about the concept when they start school and how that information could be known. - see template with initial information
  5. Decide what experiences would be appropriate for kindergarten students that may not have had similar experiences so students with and with out those experiences will have opportunities to review or learn so all students might attain a more equal beginning point.
  6. Decide what can be expected for kindergarten students to know about magnetism by the end of kindergarten and identify learning experiences students can participate in to learn that information.
  7. Review curricular expectations, knowledge of children, wisdom of practice and complete the map by adding concepts, experiences, source and expected science literacy outcomes for additional grades. Complete map

Information to consider during the process

The learner's developmental level must be considered when ways of understanding the topical ideas are considered. Students must have the reasoning abilities to construct an accurate representation of the scientific knowledge or other dimensions (inquiry, process, perspectives, social skill, emotional skill) to be mapped.

For learners to develop more elaborate conceptualizations for magnetic fields, their development must include more advanced ideas. Like: able to conserve their reasoning, represent objects and ideas in three dimensions, simultaneously manipulate more than two variables, to reason with invisible phenomena by using observations of those changing variables that represent magnetic fields and properties of objects that interact with magnetic fields. The characteristics of students in the primary grades are not sufficiently developed for them to create advanced representations or mental models of a magnetic field. However with appropriate primary experiences early middle level students will be able to do so.

More specifically their developmental structures will include:

Since primary students are developmentally limited in their ways of understanding magnetism, should it be included in early curriculum?

Certainly. Magnets are an important object in our world, they are very attractive, especially to young people, and have unique properties. However, they are best included with process topics such as properties, observation, measurement, relative position and motion; or learning how to do scientific investigations.

 

Blank map template for concept mapping

A blank sample template to use as a guide to illustrate the process of creating a concept planning map, the type of information collected, and possible sources of various information.

blank concept map template

 

Select a topic to map - magnetism. Add Magnetism to the template.

concept map with title added

 

Sample 1

Decide what information students will have about the concept when they come to school and add the information in the cloud to the right of the comment - Prekindergarten experiences.

Decide what experiences would be appropriate for kindergarten students and put them in the top ellipse.

Then decide what can be expected for kindergarten students to know about magnetism by the end of kindergarten and put it in the adjacent rectangle.

Concept map with kindergarten information

 

Complete concept map for Magnetic Fields

A complete template to illustrate the process of creating a concept planning map, the type of information collected, and possible sources of information used to make it.

Concept map magnetism finished

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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