Conceptual Mapping Facilitates Coherence and Critical Thinking in the Science Education System

James Gorman (Northbridge High School, USA) and Jane Heinze-Fry (Museum Institute for Teaching Science, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 334
EISBN13: 9781466664104|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5816-5.ch012
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In this case, the authors propose a pathway of visual mapping through which the science education system from professional educators who produce representations of national and state standards to curriculum coordinators at the school district level to individual teachers and students in the classroom could be aligned in order to promote meaningful learning of a connected set of concepts. Conceptual mapping is demonstrated to be a tool that promotes critical thinking, cohesion, and meaningful learning in opposition to the learning of arbitrary facts and rote memorization. The authors offer many examples of conceptual maps that have been produced to externalize thinking at each level. This chapter provides a “synthesis case” demonstrating that not only does it require critical thinking to create conceptual maps, but, equally salient, these visual representations of our thinking catalyze further critical thinking and coherence within the science education system.
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