Part 1: What is a Circle Map?
The circle map is the most basic and first map taught to kids in schools. It is a large square with two concentric circles in the center. The map is known to be used for brainstorming and defining in context. It is also used to identify and list the things you may know about something discussed.
Part 2: Purpose and Benefits of Circle Map
The primary purpose of a circle map is to streamline all your ideas, help you brainstorm regarding a particular concept, and bring all those thoughts down on the paper.
Since it is a straightforward way of brainstorming, children can easily utilize it, and it helps them record their ideas on paper. This also helps kids who might have low confidence; regardless they have their ideas on the page.
2. Brainstorming in Groups
This is very beneficial when working in groups. All individual ideas can be recorded in this manner, which helps in further brainstorming to choose the best idea.
3. Making use of critical, creative, and reflective thinking
It encourages the use of your critical and creative thinking skills. This is very important. It also helps incorporate the act of reflective thinking, giving a well-analyzed idea to be presented on paper. It makes you think deeply about your idea, this helps with the exploration of different angles concerning the idea and help figure out the best of the batch.
4. Understanding Different Point of Views
It also helps in understanding the different points of views of others. It also helps in identifying whether our own point of view is limiting or not. This diverse exposure to another point of view helps in formulating better mind sets and understandings.
Part 3: When to Use the Circle Map
At the very basic, it is used by kids to streamline their thoughts. This also sets as a precedence, in case that one faces certain dilemmas and can not filter out their thoughts regarding a specific idea or project. They can use a circle map; it is simple and helps in clarifying your thoughts. This can also be used as a strategy for team brainstorming. This helps bring forth the best of the ideas amongst a team and then select the one most feasible. It is also used by Unified Improvement Planning in the US that aims to work on the challenges faced by the education system of the US.
Part 4: How to Create and Use the Circle Map
The first thing one needs to know is how to create a Circle Map. Here are the following steps:
Step 1:The first step is to draw an inner circle after you have written down your main idea.
Step 2:The second step is to brainstorm and then start jotting down all your thoughts and ideas regarding the main idea. Once they are jolted down, draw a larger circle around it.
Step 3:The last step is to make a square to set a boundary for the Circle Map; this is also known as the Frame of Reference.
After creating the skeleton comes the next step, on how to efficiently use the Circle Map. The steps to the following are as follows:
Step 1:The inner circle is supposed to be where your main idea lies; you can also place something that needs to be defined in the inner circle. The purpose of the inner circle is to single out and prioritize the thing we will be brainstorming about.
Step 2:The space present between the outer circles and the inner circle's outline is used to define the item. All the words, phrases, or ideas that explain and describe the object present in the inner circle are written down in this space.
Step 3:The space between the outer circles and square's outline is known as the 'Frame of Reference'. This space is used to write down your sources of information. In simple terms, it is where you answer the question, "how do you know this?" Now you can tell whether it was through a friend, a book you read, a documentary or a journal that you went through.
This is how a Circle Map is used to generate ideas, bring forth prior knowledge regarding any topic, or help in team brainstorming too.
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Part 5: Tips for Making a Circle Map
Since it is the first map taught, the most basic way to make one is by freehand drawing. It means to make the diagram of the Circle Map without the help of any stationary.
2. Using Stationary
A stationary such as a compass can be used to make the inner and outer circle of the Circle Map. At the same time, a scale can be used to draw the square on the outside of the concentric circles.
3. Using an Software Template
A software template can also be used to generate a circle map skeleton to work.
4. Let your Thoughts be Free
While writing in the outer circle, know that during brainstorming, you should not limit your thoughts. Since this is a map to bring everything you know about a subject to the table, it's best to let your thoughts and ideas be presented on the paper for further screening. Keep your mind and ideas clear. Since a Circle Map is supposed to channel out your ideas, it should be coherent.
5. Be Creative and Critical
The purpose of the Circle Map is to bring out your creative side; the more creative you are, the better result you get from the Circle Map. Being more critical than usual helps in critically analyzing the item or idea present in the inner circle of the Circle Map. This is an essential component in team brainstorming as it enables you to justify your idea in a better manner.
6. Credible Sources and References
The Frame of Reference justifies all the things present in the outer circle. It is advised that credible sources and references are used to strengthen the basis of your ideas. This is unnecessary for children on a lower level, but any individual using this method for brainstorming should keep this in mind.
Part 6: Examples of Circle Maps
As you can see in this example, the main idea is to work around in a one-celled organism. In the bigger outer circle, everything that you know to be a one-celled organism is noted, such as protozoans, diatoms, and much more.
As for the 'Frame of Reference', it is the space used to write the sources you obtained. As in this Circle Map, the authorities are News, Newspaper, T.V, Parents, Science Book and a teacher, showing that even simple sources can be listed.
In this example, the main subject of brainstorming is 'the Coordinate Plane.' In the outer circle, everything the person knows is written such that the coordinate plane has an x-axis and y-axis. The fact that it has four quadrants, the center is called the origin and other features of the Coordinate plane.
The thing slightly different about the ‘Frame of Reference’ is that the person has also given examples of the things that influenced his decision. Such as that the computers have a grid network, and it is also where you work on a spreadsheet.
Maps have also been mentioned and how different purposes of the maps can lead you to get familiar with the coordinate plane. This shows that you can either keep the 'Frame of Reference' simple or give different examples to show how thorough your thoughts were.
Part 7: Conclusion
That is all about that most primary thinking tool known as circle map, mostly implored by teachers to test children's creative skills. But if used correctly, it can be used in other factions of life too.