By Alexa, age 10

Have you ever seen a mind map? Mind maps may look disorganized, but they actually mimic how our brains store information. That is why you might also know a mind map as a thought web or a concept map. A mind map is a helpful tool for displaying your understanding of a topic. When you make a mind map, you should know that you’re converting information into knowledge. The good thing is, you can use mind maps for almost anything. Also, they’re fun to do!

It’s pretty easy to make one. First, you can write down your focus question, though you don’t have to have one. Then, you put your main idea or topic in the center and create small categories that link to the main idea. After that, you brainstorm ideas and facts, linking them to the categories. You can also create questions to guide your research. Finally, you discover cross-links. Cross-links are connections between concepts in different areas.

To make your mind map more interesting, you can use pictures, drawings, colors, and different shapes. You can create your mind map on paper, but I prefer to use the computer. You can make cool maps like this one:

A2-mind-map-mind-map-768x576

So the next time you’re doing research, why not start with a mind map?