Chapter mind map

Chapter Mind Map

Create chapter mind maps to enhance learners’ retention of information.

Difficulty: 2/5


5 minutes to gather materials; 10 minutes to locate and download app.

Activity should take 20–30 minutes, depending on chapter length


Individual or a class of humans

Core Competency Connection

Sketch of a beaver on a brown gradient background
Sketch of chief mountain on an ammolite gradient background
Sketch of a raven on a blue gradient background


  • Course textbook
  • Recording material – if working with paper – 8 1/2″ x 14″ or flipchart paper and writing instruments
  • If working digitally, mapping software (many free mind mapping apps are available online)


Get some software:

  • You may want to find some software online for people who want it

The Process

Step 1: Mental Cartography?

  • Introduce your class to the concept of using mind maps to create visuals of textbook chapters.
  • Mind maps can be used
    • to understand the chapter’s organization and the relationships between key concepts
    • to expand on chapter concepts and details
    • as a review and recall tool to prepare for exams
  • It’s helpful to show learners a sample chapter map to illustrate the value of this learning tool.

Step 2: Choose a Location

  • Select a suitable chapter in the course text and tell students you are going to demonstrate how to create a map of the chapter (either digital or on flip chart paper).
  • Students should follow along and create their own map on paper.

Step 3: Add the Starting Point

  • To create a map of the chosen chapter, begin by writing the chapter title at the top or middle of the page, which has been oriented horizontally. (Mapping apps will automatically orient the content.)
  • Add a shape, such as a rectangle, to encase the title.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of locating the title at the top or middle of the page.

Step 4: Branch Out a Bit!

  • Add the main chapter headings as branches off the chapter title.
  • Encase each heading in a shape, such as an oval.

Step 5: Into the Nitty Gritty

  • Add subheadings as branches off the main headings.
  • Encase the subheadings in a shape, such as a rectangle, if desired.
  • Continue branching and adding shapes for sub-subheadings as required/desired.

Step 6: Make it Pretty!

  • Add colour, images, examples, relationship arrows, etc. as desired to enhance the map’s content.

Step 7: Make Sure it Helped.

  • Quiz students on content derived from the map to illustrate the power of this learning tool and encourage students to make chapter maps as a previewing strategy before class.
  • Invite them to add content to their maps during class lectures or study periods.

Design Hack

  • If students are interested in digital mapping tools, provide a list of free online apps that you’ve found helpful.

CTLI Staff

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