Comparing and Contrasting for Critical Thinking

During my student teaching internship, and later as a new teacher, one of my primary goals is to encourage my students to be thinking critically about all of their work, regardless of the subject. In class on Monday, we discussed different methods of mapping comparing and contrasting ideas. While I am familiar with Venn diagrams, the double bubble map was new to me. It is similar to Venn diagrams in that it has a place to show common or unique qualities in two or more ideas, but I think that it allows for a bit more freedom of thought, since you aren’t limited to the space of a Venn diagram.

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Double Bubble Concept Map

Humans are comparing things almost as soon as they are born, when they learn to distinguish between mother and not-mother. We set objects against each other and identify what is the same and what is different, and in doing so are able to assimilate and accommodate new information more readily. The double bubble map is a way to record this thinking, and organize it in a way so that we can see how things relate to others in our texts, our work, and our lives. In an elementary classroom following the journey of Lewis and Clark, a double bubble map might be useful in comparing then and now. This could then lead to further activities, such as math-related concepts (what would a budget for a trip in our class look like?) or science concepts (how would we measure miles if we didn’t have a GPS?). In my classroom, I hope to use the double bubble map, among many other types of concept maps, to help my students organize their thinking and then take that information and apply it to new situations.

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