Concept Maps as Innovative Learning and Assessment Tools in Primary Schools
The introduction of concept maps to primary teachers as tools to guide and scaffold their planning of learning activities in mathematics and science, or, alternatively as an assessment tool for student learning, was treated with some trepidation and reservations. That the tools have the potential to scaffold primary students’ learning and understanding of mathematics and science concepts was an idea that needed empirical testing in primary classrooms. Over a period of five school terms, through professional development, on-going professional support and collaborations between teachers and university researchers, an incremental introduction of semi-structured concept maps was initiated in two primary classrooms. This classroom trial occurred over a period of time until a more receptive and conducive learning environment was established with primary students using concept maps to review their understanding of Position in the K-Year 1 classroom and Fish’s Adaptive Features and Fractions in the Year 5/6 classroom. This chapter documents the professional journey of two primary teachers and their students as they struggled, persevered and succeeded in incorporating concept maps as learning and assessment tools, as part of their normal classroom practices during the year. The ultimate highlight of the innovative strategy was the initiative by the two primary teachers and their students to come together for peer tutoring and peer collaborations as the older students mentored and assisted the younger ones in using the software Inspiration TM to construct concept maps.
KeywordsMapping Task Primary Teacher Innovative Strategy Final Project Primary Student
This project was funded by a grant from the Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) Project, which is part of the Australian Government’s Boosting Innovation, Science, Technology and Mathematics Teaching (BISTMT) Programme.
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