Mind Maps: The Cognitive Semantic Approach

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Metaphors are great, but they need a bit of organization before they can be applied pedagogically, otherwise it's just so much more memorization. Enter semantic mapping, aka Mind Maps.

Mind maps are what most teachers are familiar with. Put a little spin on that phrase, and add some higher level vocabulary, and you have what scientists call a "schematic diagram of a semantic network." Here is an image that I took from a research paper on the semantic mapping of the particle UP:

And here is a simple mind map that could be used in any elementary school to, say, brainstorm writing topics:

Mind maps are a great way to organize all that data coming into the head. It's what our brains want to do naturally, but they sometimes need a little help. When students organize ideas externally in a visual "map," it causes the brain to process the information both visually and verbally. This coding of the visual and the verbal at the same time is called "dual-coding" and helps with memory retention. And it helps keep that mind organized and decluttered!

Here's a great list of the types of mind maps you might make with your students:

Check out this tree map of the different meanings of the particle UP...

The visual images are drawn by my daughter. I've fixed a few problems (corrected the spelling of "verticle") and uploaded them as a PDF here:

Download PDF • 2.39MB

And here is a very quick circle map and bubble map of the particle OUT:

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