Teacher ideas: brainstorming and concept maps

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What you need

Writing materials, whiteboard

Teaching focus

Find out what your students know about climate change. Class brainstorming and concept maps can be used to explore students' level of understanding.

What to do

Use the think-pair-share strategy to elicit what students know about global warming.

Initially have students work individually to brainstorm what they know about climate change. They could use a combination of words, phrases, thoughts and drawings. After sufficient time to record their ideas, put students in pairs and ask them to discuss their ideas. Ask students to refine and record their ideas.

Either working in pairs or as a whole class, combine their thinking and build up a framework of thoughts, ideas, theories, facts, beliefs that has emerged. List the ideas on the whiteboard. Then encourage students to develop questions on issues they would like to explore.

Use a KWHL chart to scaffold students' inquiry.

What I know (K) What I want to find out (W) How I found it out (H) What I learned (L)

If your students are familiar with mind mapping or concept mapping, then they may choose to convey their ideas visually. In developing a mind map or concept map, ask students to brainstorm words that are relevant to the topic and then show how these concepts are related.

Creating concept maps and mind maps not only stimulates students to think about the topic, but also shows what they already know and if there are any misconceptions. Mind maps can also provide data that could be used to assess what learning has occurred during the teaching unit.

Further inquiry

Use the questions recorded in the KWHL chart to guide students' research. They may chose to research questions of interest or questions set for small groups to address.

Teacher background

Global warming was a term commonly used to describe the effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions (ghg). However, the term more widely used is 'climate change'.

Greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions can cause climate change; one of the changes that occur is a warming climate. However, there are many other effects caused by ghg emissions, not just simply an increase in global temperatures. The more we learn about the effects of increased ghg emissions, we learn more about the complexities of environmental impact and changes.