Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Concept Card Mapping

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Concept Card Mapping

In this strategy, students organize vocabulary cards to help them construct and illustrate connections within one concept and/or between multiple concepts.

Concept Card Mapping


Students explore vocabulary by physically connecting related terms through the use of note cards and lines. Depending on the content and topic, this could be a Venn-Diagram type of arrangement, a hierarchical arrangement, or simple groupings—as long as the organization makes sense to the students.


  1. Students either make or are provided with cards that have a variety of terms, phrases, or images on them. (Always provide students with blank cards in case new phrases or ideas need to be added.)

  2. Students (working independently or in small groups) organize the cards into a “concept map,” showing connections or relationships between the words on the cards by connecting them with lines or yarn.

  3. Students view each other’s concept maps and rearrange their own, based on ideas they like (optional).

  4. Students make a record of their maps with a brief explanation (photo, drawing a copy, Popplet, etc.)

Keeley, P., & Tobey, C. (2011). Mathematics formative assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.