Constructing a Concept Map of Creativity

Purpose: What will I learn about students' thinking from this?

What is creativity? What do people do when they’re being creative? How can you tell if something or someone is creative? This introductory activity is designed to invite students to think about these kinds of questions and to provide you with information about students' ideas about creativity, including their questions about creativity and their ideas about the types of situations that might invite or reflect creativity.

Launch: How do I begin the activity?

Ask students to make a concept map or mind map that captures their ideas about creativity. The concept map template provides a prompt for students to help them get started. (link here?) You can read the instructions accompanying the template directly to students, or use your own words. The basic idea is to provide whatever prompts students need in order to get them to reflect on their ideas about creativity, and for students to visibly capture their reflections on a map.

Follow up: How do I conclude the activity?

After each student has created a map, you might want to put them in small groups and ask each group to create a larger mind map by sharing and discussing their ideas. Alternatively, you can have a class discussion in which you collect and chart students' ideas.

Be sure to collect student's individual maps to look at and discuss. Hold onto them, as you may want students to revisit them at the end of the module.

Many teachers like to follow up the concept map activity by introducing the Visible Thinking Creativity Map. See Introducing the Creativity Map for ideas about how to do this. 

Timing: How much time should I allow?

To complete the individual maps, students will need about 10-15 minutes. To have a class discussion or create group maps, you will need 20-40 minutes.

Assessment: What should I look for in students' responses?

Constructing a concept map of creativity is a challenging task. Don't be surprised if students' maps are sparse and contain a lot of situation specific references. Some things to look for include:

  • What kinds of words and images do students associate with creativity?
  • Do they see creativity as a process, or as an end result? 
  • What kinds of skills and attitudes do they associate with creativity? 
  • Do they see creativity as an inborn talent, or as a skill that can be developed?
  • What kinds of occasions do they seem to think call for creativity?  Only very special occasions? Many different kinds of occasions?  

(this will download a blank template for the concept map that can be used in your classroom)