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Concept Maps

A concept map is a diagram of the relationships among the ideas or objects. Creating a visual, spatial representation often increases understanding. Creating a concept map involves:

  1. Identifying the major concepts. These concepts are found in the reading. Usually the general concept or the main topic of the paper goes at the top of the concept map. Concepts are usually nouns. Draw an oval around your concept words.
  2. Beneath the major topic or concept, the other concepts or ideas are listed. Arrange the order so that the more general (biggest group) concepts are above the more specific ideas.
  3. Draw lines between the concepts that are related to each other. Some concepts might show just one relationship, while others connect to several other concepts.
  4. Next to the lines you drew, write down the relationship between the concepts.
  5. Add arrow heads to the lines to reduce confusion.
  6. Look at your concept map, add a line for relationships that go across the page (between branches). These cross-links are found in more complex topics.

concept map drawing

Important Concepts about Concept Maps


On a separate sheet, create concept maps for these three topics (often the more concepts/ ideas, relationship lines and cross-links the more points!).

  1. The parts of a bicycle.
  2. How to graduate from high school.
  3. Going to the movies.