Magic of Mind Mapping For Kids – Revisited.
Back in 2009, I created a short video about the benefits of mind mapping for kids. It attracted thousands of views and still does. So why is this? Well, we all love our kids unconditionally, and we want to give them every chance in life. Some are fast learners and some have to work a little bit harder to get the same grades in school. However, mind mapping is a great leveler which can give all kids the opportunity to shine as brightly as the best kid in the class.
I started teaching my own kids how to create, and use, mind maps when they were only 6 or 7 years of age. But when I was growing up, I was not aware of this fantastic tool for structured thinking, effective note taking, and a prompt for recalling vast amounts of connected information. My first exposure to Mind Maps was when I started college as a mature student aged 25. But what a revelation they turned out to be.
You see, I was one of those students that studied all night, went to bed, and then woke up in the morning and everything from the night before was forgotten. I simply was not equipped with the tools to help me read, digest, and remember the huge amounts of information that is presented to us in High School. I did not have a trained mind or a photographic memory to help me. And, it was really, really frustrating. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
My daughters were lucky to have the opportunity to learn mind mapping at a young age from me. They are not kids anymore. My youngest daughter, Tammy, recently graduated from college and she not only used mind maps to help her learn, she teaches mind mapping to other students as well. At age 15, she decided to produce her school notes for her chosen subjects in mind mapping format and she now has summarized the entire junior, middle and high school curriculums for these subjects into mind maps.
In fact, she decided to make them available to other school kids online for a small fee about 5 years ago, and this has enabled her to pay for her own education since then. She just loves the fact that she has been able to use her skills in helping other kids to educate themselves, to educate herself without Mom or Dad having to step up to the plate. Here is a photo of Tammy presenting a copy of her Math Mind Maps to Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind mapping.
So why is mind mapping such a great learning tool for kids? The key here is that it allows kids to see information in context because of the visual format. Everything that is connected, sits somewhere along a single branch of a mind map. Every individual sub-topic has its own branch. By using images and color, the student can immediately see everything that is related. This means that kids are no longer trying to read and remember pages and paragraphs of linear text that may not show obvious connections.
Here’s a sample of a simple mind map for junior cycle science. It has one core topic, three sub-topics and a number of useful points about each sub-topic. This is coupled with images that show the structure of the sub-topics. Now compare this with reading a text book or listening to a teacher explain it on a white board in class. Think of how easy it might be to commit the entire mind map and its content into your memory.
But the recording of information in mind maps is only the beginning of the journey. The real value comes from how easy it becomes to assimilate the knowledge kids put into the mind maps; how easy it is to create triggers that aid recall; and how kids can ace examinations because they can visualize connections between different strands of information and write it down coherently when taking exams.
Take a look at a more complex mind map for senior cycle science. You can see the image of the entire map but it looks to be illegible. However, if you use a PDF reader, you can blow the mind map up to any size you want and zoom in on any part of it.
There is a simple process for embedding the information in mind maps into the brain. When we access our memories, you will notice that we usually look upwards and to the left. Try it with your kids. Ask them a question about their favorite TV program or sport star and watch where their eyes go. If it is a question they know the answer to, their eyes will look upwards and to the left as they try to visualize it in their memory.
If they don’t have the answer in their memory, and they try to guess or make something up, then their eyes will normally move upwards and to the right. Interestingly, if your kids are telling you fibs, you will see it in their eyes, as they will invariably look up and to the right.
So why is the eye movement important in mind mapping? It’s very simple. When trying to commit a mind map to memory, you simply need to study an entire branch and commit it to memory while looking upwards and to the left. This implants the entire image in your brain. Once committed to memory, test yourself by recalling an entire branch of the mind map, starting at the center of the diagram, then moving one step at a time to the end of the branch and each individual sub-branch. Then repeat this with each main branch of the mind map until the entire mind map is committed to memory.
To study and remember Mind Maps, it is recommended that you study them branch by branch until you have a general sense of the layout and detail. Repeat this process an hour later. Repeat it once the following day, once the following week and once the following month. If you follow this process, the Mind Maps will remain in your memory indefinitely. And this is just after 5 quick visits to each mind map. To recall a mind map and any individual branch of it, always look upwards and to the left and let the image of the branch, its color and any images on it appear as a picture in your mind. This is the best way to access your memory banks.
At the moment, Tammy is supplying students in Ireland with her mind maps for grades 7 through 12. Early next year, she will be launching her school mind maps for K12 students in the United States. If you have any questions about mind mapping and how it can help your kids, drop Tammy an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to download a PDF version of the senior cycle science mind map click here.
Finally, if you can, give your kids the gift of mind mapping. They will never forget it.