Throughout this site, clicking on the concept map icon () will return you to this page. Clicking on the up arrow () will take you to the top of the page you are currently on.

Concept Mapping as a Prewriting Activity

A Presentation for MACUL 99

Definition Types of Maps Grouping Tools Learning Goals


This Web site was created by Jon Margerum-Leys ( in support of a conference presentation at MACUL 99. You are welcome to browse around the site; if you find it useful, I'd appreciate it if you would fill out the site guest register.

Accompanying PowerPoint slides can be seen at; there is a minor problem with the slides (the last three are not linked yet) which I expect to have fixed in the next few weeks. The sample Inspiration maps shown at the MACUL presentation can be downloaded for Macintosh or Windows computers.

The intended audience for this Web site includes classroom teachers, teacher education students, and teacher educators.

The computer tools featured on these pages are available free or inexpensively and work equally well on Macintosh or Windows computers. While I believe that computers make the process of creating and modifying concept maps much easier for kids, most of the activities described here can be accomplished without any computer-based technology.

After defining concept mapping, I focus on four questions:

What is concept mapping?

Concept mapping was developed in the 1960s by Joseph Novak of Stanford University. Although there are many variations on concept mapping, they share some common themes. Concepts are represented visually, often by geometric shapes or icons. Relationships between concepts are shown both by the spatial relationship between the shapes and by links, which are represented by lines or arrows. The late Jan Lanzig of the University of Twente in the Netherlands developed this concept map to use as an example:

Other concept mapping resources:

For an annotated bibliography on concept mapping, see, created by Doug Williams at the University of Texas.

Nice overview of concept mapping as a type of graphic organizer, as well as a great set of related links, at

The concept mapping home page (, housed at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and created by the late Jan Lanzig, also has a nice set of links along with a concise academic history of concept mapping. You'll also find download links to an assortment of concept mapping software, though due to Mr. Lanzig's 1997 death, most of these links are now inactive.

Other descriptions of concept mapping can be found at and


Copyright 1999, Jon Margerum-Leys and The University of Michigan. Last update March 10, 1999