Using Concept Maps to Teach Evolution
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Using Concept Maps to Teach Evolution

Vern Beeson and Tim Culp

Target age or ability group: Grades 9-12.
Class time required: Variable.
Materials and equipment: 1. The concept maps on the following pages can be used as masters for transparencies or student copies.

2. Our concept maps were created using Inspiration® software. The software is relatively inexpensive and an efficient tool for concept map production.

Summary of activity: We believe that concept maps are an excellent tool for introducing, teaching, or reviewing evolution, or any other topic. The concept maps and outlines we have created offer several avenues for instruction. For example, the concept map can be used as:

a. A transparency to lead a review of material covered in an evolution unit. The map provides students with an alternative method of interacting with the information and a forum for asking questions about vocabulary, concepts, and interrelationships. An outline with additional notes accompanies each map.

b. A closed-ended worksheet or quiz, with terms on the map deleted from student copies. Students would have to "fill in" the symbol or link with a term that would be appropriate.

c. As an open-ended activity in which students were required to produce their own concept maps from scratch or from a list of terms or a basic framework provided by the teacher. This map could be made by hand or by using concept map software.

d. With Inspiration® software, teacher or student can interact with our concept maps. By clicking on a given symbol, the user is given additional information relative to the link or symbol. For example, on the "Definition of Evolution" map, when the user clicks on "prokaryote" a note comes up defining prokaryotes as "organisms lacking a nucleus, mitochondria, and histone-bound DNA. Includes bacteria." The notes can be easily amend notes to fit the teacher's definitions and emphasis.

Prior knowledge, concepts or vocabulary necessary to complete activity: Anyone may use the concept maps on the following pages. We also encourage teachers to obtain software such as Inspiration® to produce their own custom-made concept maps for their courses. Inspiration® is simple to use and can quickly be used to produce a multi-colored map.
Teacher instructions: If you have (or decide to purchase) Inspiration® software (1-800-877-4292), we would be glad to send you our file of the concept maps included here (with accompanying outlines). Using Inspiration® software, teacher or student can easily amend our maps. For a free copy of our concept maps and outlines used to produce them, send a formatted disk and self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage to.

PC users send your disk to:
Vern Beeson
c/o Banks High School
450 South Main Street Banks, OR 97106
Mac users send your disk to:
Tim Culp
c/o Mission Prep High School
682 Palm Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


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