Science IDEAS Elements
Propositional Concept Mapping
Propositional concept mapping is a key element in the Science
IDEAS Model because it focuses on the meaningful organization of
Propositional concept maps all have two important characteristics.
First, concepts are arranged hierarchically with core ideas on the
top, subordinate ideas below, and examples at the bottom. Second,
each concept is linked to at least one other concept in a manner
that a concept-link-concept (i.e., noun-verb-noun) forms a simple
sentence or proposition that represents a unit of knowledge (see
Examples of concept maps constructed by teachers and/or students can
be accessed in the attached reference list. In addition, the teacher
resource section of this web-page includes many propositional
concept map examples.
An overview of the Propositional Concept Mapping Element follows.
Teacher Preparation to Apply the Propositional Concept Mapping
Teachers construct a concept map from the material to be used with
- Teachers identify the key ideas/examples in a text passage (or
some other set of content) and writes each on post-it notes.
- Teachers organize ideas/examples in a hierarchical structure (via
post-it notes), arranging big ideas on top, sub-ideas below, and
examples on bottom.
- Teachers generate links for connecting concepts that are related
so each concept-link-concept is in the form of a simple sentence
- Teachers review/revise the concept map as necessary.
Classroom Implementation of Propositional Concept Map Construction
Teachers guide students through the same process followed in the
- Students read passage and then identify key ideas/examples.
- Teachers write and display ideas/examples on post-it notes as
students suggest them (all are usually accepted).
- Teachers guide students to identify core ideas (e.g., Which of
these ideas are the most general and include others?), subordinate
ideas, and examples, arranging the post-it notes in real time to
form a hierarchical structure.
- Teachers guide student identification of links that form
concept-link-concept (i.e., noun-verb-noun) units.
- Students read the map as if it were prose (editing and re-editing
Once students have mastered the process, teachers assign small
groups of students to construct and report on propositional concept