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Concept Mapping

Concept mapping activities at FIE support other initiatives, especially those involving curriculum design and implementation and professional learning. Common uses of concept mapping include facilitation of learning; assessment of connected, meaningful learning; planning instruction and research; organizing information; collaborative problem solving by means of spatial thinking; eliciting, capturing, archiving, and using expert knowledge; and administrative and strategic planning.


Concept maps result from systematically connecting relationships among concepts, and their use helps individuals visualize the structure of the mapped knowledge. Educational researchers have long seen concept mapping as a powerful tool to promote meaningful learning,  and have summarized uses of concept mapping in educational settings as support for learning,1 assessment of learning, and for the organization and presentation of knowledge.2 


Concept mapping has become prevalent in the United States, particularly in science classes. The National Assessment Governing Board in Framework for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) strongly recommended that at least one concept mapping item be included in the eighth and twelfth grade NAEP science measures.3  Concept mapping has been even more widely embraced as a K-12 educational strategy by the international community. Implemented in 2005, Connect to Knowledge, the primary component of a Panamanian strategy, Intelligent Panama, proposed to facilitate a change in focus from rote memorization of facts to a system in which children construct knowledge through the use of concept mapping.4 


FIE researchers first presented peer-reviewed papers at the 2006 international concept mapping conference (cmc-2006) held in Costa Rica and continued to build their international reputation for excellence at cmc-2008 jointly held in Estonia and Finland and at cmc-2010 held in Chile. At cmc-2008, FIE researchers reported on the implementation and evaluation of FIE-designed preschool/prekindergarten curricula intended to increase young children’s background knowledge thereby increasing the likelihood they will comprehend what they read. As a result of these presentations, international researchers now acknowledge the FIE research team’s expertise in the concept development of pre- and emerging readers. At cmc-2010 conference, FIE researchers granted Latin American doctoral students permission to include the FIE early childhood research in their dissertations. To continue its tradition of excellence, FIE researchers will submit four papers for presentation at cmc-2012 to be held in Valletta, Malta: one involving a middle school project and three involving early childhood education.


  1  (e.g., Kinchin, I. M., & Hay, D. B. (2000). How a qualitative approach to concept map analysis can be used to aid learning by illustrating patterns of conceptual development. Educational Research 42(1): 43-57.
Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2008). The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. (accessed April 2011).
Novak, J. D., & Gowin, D. B. (1984). Learning How to Learn. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

 2  Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC: 2003). A Summary of Literature Pertaining to the Use of Concept mapping Techniques and Technologies for Education and Performance Support.  ttp:// (accessed April 2011)


 3  National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB. 2008). Science Framework for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. (accessed April 2011).

(United Nations Development Program (UNDP: 2010). UNDP Success Story Leads. (accessed April, 2011).

FIE Concept Mapping Accomplishments Published in or Submitted to Peer-Reviewed Venues with Proceedings



1 Caldwell, W. (2009). Applying concept mapping to Algebra 1. In K. Afamasaga-Fuatái (Ed.), Concept mapping in mathematics: Research into practice (pp. 217-234). New York, NY: Springer, LLC.


2 Wehry, S., Monroe-Ossi, H., Cobb, S., & Fountain, C. (2012). Concept mapping strategies: Content, tools, and assessment for human geography. Journal of Geography, 111(3), 83-92.

The cms-2010 presentations in Chile focused the use of concept mapping on three FIE initiatives.


  • A QuEST paper detailed the processes and procedures used for incorporating concept mapping into instructional planning and implementation in four classrooms in a Jacksonville childcare setting.


  • Two papers emerged from UNF/FIE CROP: one described the use of concept mapping for formative assessment of student learning resulting from participation in after-school geography lessons offered at two partner middle schools. The other detailed the development and field testing of a select-and-fill-in concept map summative assessment of the students’ geography knowledge.


  • The remaining two works, part of Success by Design, described the development and implementation of professional learning workshops designed to introduce prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers to concept mapping and its uses in educational settings.

Curriculum Development Using Concept Mapping

Concept Mapping Presentations