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Concept Definition Mapping

A Concept Definition Map prompts students to take a key term, concept, or reading selection and . . .
  • Uncover its component ideas,

  • Show their structure and interrelatedness, and

  • Chart these findings on a graphical organizer.

A Concept Definition Map trains students to place information in logical categories, to identify defining properties and characteristics, and to offer examples (and non-examples) of ideas. This strategy is especially useful for analyzing brief, but content-rich, reading selections.

Steps to Concept Definition Mapping:

  1. Distribute a copy of the Concept Definition Map (see below) to each student.

  2. Identify several main concepts in a reading selection. Have students select one of these concepts and write it in the center section of the map form.

  3. Ask the students to fill out the chart while reading the selection. Students should focus on three areas: the properties of the concept, examples of the concept, and comparisons/related ideas to the concept.

  4. Next, have students suggest a category for the concept. This category will probably arise from the general context of the selection or the student's prior knowledge.

  5. Finally, ask students to complete the form by providing a succinct, but full, definition of the concept as expressed within the context of the reading selection.

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