Thinking Maps


Couple CHS Student Samples

Thinking Maps ©

  • Circle Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Circle Maps are tools used to help define a thing or idea. It is used to brainstorm ideas and for showing prior knowledge about a topic. In the center of the circle, use words, numbers, pictures, or any other sign or symbol to represent the object, person, or idea you are trying to understand or define. In the outside circle, write or draw any information that puts this thing in context.

  • Bubble Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Bubble Maps are used to describe qualities using adjectives ("sparkle words") and adjective phrases. As a writing tool it enriches students' abilities to identify qualities and use descriptive words.

      In the center circle, write the word or thing being descrbed. Write the adjectives or adjective phrases in the outside circles.

  • Flow Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Flow Maps sequence and order a process. They identify the relationships between stages and substages of an event (or order or numbers, operations, steps, etc.) They can be used to explain the order of events.

      In the outside rectangle, write the name for the event or sequence. Rectangles to follow list the steps or events that follow from beginning to end. Smaller rectangles may be written below to list substages or each major stage.

  • Brace Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Brace Maps help learners understand the relationship between a whole physical object and its parts. They are used to analyze the structure of an item. It's like 'disecting' on paper.

      On the line to the left, write the name of the whole object. On the lines within the first brace to the right, write the major parts of the object, then follow within the next set of braces with the subparts of each major part.

      Tree Maps are good for organizing the agenda of a meeting or showing the structure of an organization.

  • Tree Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • For classifying and grouping, students learn to use a Tree Map. Things or ideas are sorted into categories or groups. Sometimes new categories are created. On the top line, write the category name. Below that begin writing sub-categories. Below each sub-category write specific members of the group. Some things can go in multiple groups.

      Tree Maps are good for studying for tests. Use this map to categorize spelling words according to the skill being taught. Try using a Tree Map when studying Social Studies or Science.

  • Double Bubble Map©DOWNLOAD PDF
    • When comparing and contrasting, we use Double Bubble Maps. This is similar in concept to a Venn Diagram. Two items being compared are written in the two center circles. Outside bubbles show items that share qualities with only one object - these are contrasting qualities. Center bubbles (that connect to both circles) show similaries between the two items being compared.

  • Multi-Flow Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Cause and effect is represented in a Multi-Flow Map. It is a process of sequencing that looks at what caused an event and the results/effects of the event. It helps students analyze a situation by looking at the cause and effect - the 'why' and 'consequences' - good or bad.

      In the center rectangle, list the event that occurred. In the rectangle to the left, list the causes of the event. Write the effects/consequences of the event in the rectangles to the right of the center rectangle. If you are studying a system, you will find that there are effects in the system which, in turn, influence initial causes. This circular cause and effect relationship is called a feedback loop.

  • Bridge Map© DOWNLOAD PDF
    • Seeing analogies is the process of identifying similarities between relationships. These are similar to the 'analagies' found on SATs with one difference being Bridge Maps can have many 'bridges'.

      Bridge Maps give students a tool for applying the process of seeing analogies. On the far left, write in the relating factor. The relating factor is the similar phrase that fits both sides of an analogy. On the top and bottom of the left side of the bridge, write in the first pair of things that have this relationship. On the right side of the bridge, write in the second pair of things that have the same relationship. The bridge can continue with more relating factors.


  • Used with web design
  • Explaining stories or reading
  • Vocabulary

Tips and Quotes

  • Students identify which map strategy, and thought process, to use for school work
  • "How to you want to think about your work?"


  • Mosiac of Thought
    • Resource
  • Book: "Dimensions of Learning", Auther: Marzano - He researches what works
    • Need to:
      • Compare, classify and order
      • Then analyze patterns
      • Then need to infer, "what was the author intending?"
      • Summarize
      • Evaluate
    • His work influenced the WASL structure
    • Using graphic organizer works
  • Book: Building Academic Vocabulary
    • Kids from lower economic background often don't have the vocabulary
    • Word "scenario" is used on the WASL
      • How often do we use these words in the classroom?
      • Many kids don't understand these testing terms
      • Terms are inhibiting kids success on tests, especially in science and math
      • Give kids a frame for the terms
  • Book: Student Success with Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps descriptions from New Hanover County Schools