Blog # 4

Source:  Blog # 4    Tag:  causal maps
Hi Class!
I particularly enjoyed Ariel Owen’s article, “Mapping Student Minds.” I wish this type of technology was available when I was in 6th grade! In this particular article, 6th grade students were introduced to the health of one particular creek and given the opportunity to evaluate what factors affect the creek’s health. I think the idea of gathering data from a real or virtual field trip and then entering it into an online data base is great. Once the date is entered, students have a visual tool to see the causal relationships between factors and creek health. This concept of causal mapping is designed to show, “…the causal relationships among kinds of objects and events in the world,” (p.9). Being a visual learner myself, I can see how this tool would really increase a student’s understanding of a scientific concept….especially if the map is kept simple. According to the article, once a student makes his or her causal map, he or she is encouraged to present it to others. In doing this presentation, students are able to see what they created and then correct their mistakes if there are any. One challenge for the students is keeping the map simple and only including relevant factors. It is easy to overload on information when learning a new concept. These types of maps can be used in various situations. As long as there is, “measurable data and dynamic cause-and-effect relationships in that data, this is a terrific tool for focusing and expressing student’s thinking,” (p.10). I think causal maps are a great way to get students involved in the world around them.