OLD Map the topic

Rob McTaggart

We need to build our field of knowledge and define the limits of our topic.

A topic is a collection of interrelating concepts. When we map the topic, we build our understanding of what we know about the concepts we are exploring.  

We can return to the topic map often to review, rearrange and update what we all know. The map will be a launchpad for further exploring the topic and the themes we decide on. 


1. As a class, prepare for the topic you will explore by viewing a few relevant videos or images. Discuss some related ideas within the topic. Students can share a little of their background knowledge. 

2. Shift into teams and set the class timer for five minutes. Think of one fact, issue, problem or piece of information from your topic and write it on a post-it. 

3. Write another on a post-it. And another. Keep going and flowing! 

4. When the timer goes, read all your team’s ideas. 

5. Set the class timer for another five minutes. 

8. Place your post-it notes on the wall or a large sheet of paper. 

9. Find two post-its that you think are related and bring them close together. Now connect other post-its. 

10. Discuss each connection or change you make. You can connect post-it as chains, trees, star formations or blobs! Think of your separate collections as “themes”. 

11. As a class, combine your collections of post-its into a class map. Discuss and decide on the main themes. You will now have a visual map of the topic to explore and a shared language to build on. 

12. Return to the topic map consistently to update what you know and organise deeper research.