Mental Map

A 'Mental Map', also known as a 'map of thoughts', a 'brain map' or a 'concept map', is basically a graphic presentation of human thoughts and simple associations connected with a certain topic. This is a guide on how to use Mental Maps effectively as a tool for teaching and learning.

Purpose and process

This a method which is recommended for a range of purposes, such as creating and defining concepts, preparing notes, planning, preparing strategies and ideas. A Mental Map can be presented in the form of a fishes’ skeleton, spider's web, network or a block scheme and can be created using drawings, pictures, cut-outs from newspaper, symbols or words - in fact, using whatever medium makes ideas visualisation easiest for the students. The Mental Map process is shown in the following examples:

a) Summing up of 3rd Grade children’s knowledge regarding methods of saving (spider's web)

  1. Teacher discusses different ways of saving with the student. 
  2. In the middle of the spreadsheet, the teacher writes key concepts: 'Methods of saving'.
  3. Next, the class is divided into groups. Each person gets class materials such as: paper, markers, crayons, coloured pens, newspaper, scissors and glue. 
  4. Each group writes its own slogans in the form of drawings or symbols which they associate with a particular concept (health, water, paper, environment, energy).  
  5. Students note down the slogans, draw signs and symbols, or cut out illustrations from newspapers and stick them in specific places.  
  6. Groups present their own maps and selected students explain what kind of elements they chose and why they stuck them on their map. All the groups' projects are combined into one main map showing different ways of saving.   
  7. The teacher sums up how the students have worked together. 

b) Determining the reasons behind financial losses (fish skeleton)

  1. The teacher talks with the students about inappropriate money management, using phrases such as “Money goes through your fingers”, “You have holes in your pockets”, “Count every dime”, “Go broke”.   
  2. Next, a question is asked such as: "How do we lose our money, possessions? What causes us not to have any?"   
  3. Students think of different types of reasons – brain storming.
  4. Each situation is written on a different card. All the cards are stuck in appropriate places on the fish skeleton describing the causes behind financial losses.
  5. The teacher sums up how the students have worked together.   

          Some examples of causes behind financial losses that students may suggest:

  • Bad shopping - influenced by friends, advertisements; desire to have the same thing as a friend; buying things we don’t need; buying bad quality products; buying over-expensive toys; buying too much food        
  • Laziness – we don’t feel like doing something that someone would pay us for, e.g. taking out the rubbish; babysitting
  • Borrowing money in situations when we know we will have problems giving it back  
  • Unforeseen situations 
  • Not insuring your possessions - uninsured material things; health
  • Habits – smoking cigarettes
  • Negligence – lack of respect for our possessions, e.g. we don’t care about our clothes; accessories; surroundings  

Learning outcomes

Students can:

  • Develop their organisational skills and ability to understand the interrrelationship between one piece of information and another
  • Expand their knowledge and improve their ability to memorise information
  • Build enterprising skills, attitudes and behaviours, especially: team work; creative thinking and problem-solving; communication and presentation
  • Develop research techniques for use in future learning

Curricular or thematic relevance

The Saving Galaxy.jpgThe Mental Map method can be used to support many national curriculum subjects and can be used independently by students as a tool for organising their thinking

How to organise:

Can be used in timetabled lessons, suspended timetable time or as part of an extra-curricular activity

Assessment and evaluation approaches

The final results are assessed and evaluated by the students and their teacher during the debriefing stages of the activity

Provider country


Photo gallery:

Provider Institution:

, Regional Teachers Training Center in Lodz  

helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)


I have tried 'Mental map' a few times and I think that it is a very useful tool. That method is also recommended even for young learners who cannot write and read yet. It is opportunity for pupils to work in groups, to communicate and to think creatively. What is more it helps children to organize their thinking which is so helpful in process of learning. You should try it!


    Emma McCarthy

Mind mapping is a great tool to generate ideas, and can be useful to check understanding of a given topic or concept. It appeals to students' creativity and is a great aid for visual learners. Emma McCarthy 27.02.2014


    Anna Epurash

Excellent tool that can be applied at different stages of virtually any program or subject for different age groups and at differenet educational institutions.



In a user study, 80% of the students thought "mindmapping helped them understand concepts and ideas in science" (Cunningham 2005). There are also several other studies which have reported a positive effect in the use of Mind Mapping (or Mental Mapping as named here). We are currently using Mind Mapping in a project on renewable energy and sustainability, in my school. I am certain that this tool will help students of all ages understand Entrepreneurship and Business Ideas better.



Mind mapping is a good tool for allpurpose learning. It can be used with students of all ages. It motivate to work together. And to deal with a large group of students, there are many different types of mobile applications to do mind mapping.



It seems extremely simple to do it in schools and, regarding the importance of saving these days, I found it a very good tool and I would like to know more about it.

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The latest review

It seems extremely simple to do it in schools and, regarding the importance of saving these days, I found it a very good tool and I would like to know more about it.

JoanaDias 02.03.2014

helper do TM detail right side (TM June 6th, 2nd half)

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