Blog #4

Source:  Blog #4    Tag:  causal mapping
"Mapping Student Minds" by Ariel Owen is a great read because the article explains a new form of critical thinking. Causal mapping is similar to Inspiration in that both are great ways of allowing students to formulate innovative ways to present information. Having no knowledge of Pine Creek water quality, one can look at the final result of the causal map and understand a variety of things such as the contributing factors of water quality, water quality effects, and so forth. Although causal mapping is an innovative way to create information, causal mapping is limited to certain information. Acccording to the article, Ariel Owen asserts, "The causal mapping tool cannot be applied to every situation, but wherever there is measurable data and dynamic cause -and-effect relationships in the data, this is a terrific tool for focusing and expressing students' thinking". I really loved how Owen made his students present their findings of the Pine Creek water quality as if they were to present their findings to the city council. Owen says, "It is really fun to listen to these presentations, and I often see future lawyers, politicians, and philosophers! I'm hoping to have students incorporate Power Point presentations into future discussions".
After reading the article, I thought about how this tool is extremely beneficial to science teachers. According to "What is Causal Mapping?," Jim Pollard says, "The power of the tool is in how it encourages the student teams to monitor their learning. They begin with a model of how something works and then test whether they can support that model with measurements, observation, Internet research, or any other investigative tools. Any time research doesn't support their causal map, they can change the model. The teacher can be involved throughout the process, because everything the students believe and know is on the map". What a great way to learn!