To start our series, we’ll begin talking about the usual suspects in Graphic Organizers. Yes, you guessed it- Venn Diagrams and Concept Maps. These two graphic organizers seem to be the go-to, catch-all ones, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention them. These oldies-but-goodies are so versatile for all subjects including STEM.
But why should you use these two graphic organizers in STEM? Here’s why:
Venn Diagrams– Venn Diagrams help students to sort, categorize and see relationships between/among different sets of data. Usually students use them in a Compare/Both/Contrast fashion, but for STEM, other “categories” like Engineering/Both/Science, My Design/Both/Your Design and others are appropriate too. At any rate, Venns help students to visually compare and contrast different sets of data, concepts or event subsets.
Concept Maps (Webs)– Concept Maps help students visually manage concepts and sub-concepts. They allow students to creatively “take notes”, map out processes, brainstorm potential solutions to an engineering design challenge, or even capture different pieces of a problem in order to find a solution.
Even though these two graphic organizers are quite common in a Science or STEM classroom, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be powerful tools for extending student learning.