Grade 5

Mind Mapping Basics

Innovative Designer
blackboard with mind map circles radiating out from lightbulb


Mind Mapping is one of the best ways to capture your thoughts. It is great for note-taking, helping you become more creative and solve problems effectively.

Students will be given an authentic problem (e.g. Students are upset about the new dress code, Students want to make use of their cell phones in class). They are then asked to explore this topic and generate ideas revolving around their First Amendment Rights. The goal is for students to consider solutions and possible actions that could be taken and the ramifications of those actions.

The mind mapping process will help students effectively solve the problem.

Students will:

  • Be able to use a mind map to organize ideas surrounding their position on a given topic.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Position Statement - A position statement is a sentence that clearly explains one side of an arguable issue.

  2. Mind map: A mind map is a visual representation of a topic, including a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • The teacher will familiarize him/herself with a mind-mapping tool such as Canva, Padlet or Popplet.

  • Ensure all students have access to the mind-mapping tool.


Create a Mind Map in Canva

How to Create a Mind Map and Webs with Padlet

How to Use Popplet

  • See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources. 
  • Students may find it useful to use a text-to-speech app when reading and reviewing the mind-maps. 

Directions for this activity:

  • Present one to three relevant issues to the class. In this example we are discussing the First Amendment; thus our issues revolve around Freedom of Speech.
  • Students choose a topic on which to take a stand.
  • Introduce one of the mind-mapping tools.
  • Students will insert their position in the central topic box located in the middle of their mind map.
  • Students will then include at least four reasons why they have taken this position.
  • Students will develop a possible benefit and drawback for each of the reasons.
  • Students will share completed mind maps with a partner. Partners will provide constructive feedback on the clarity of the ideas presented.
  • Whole-Group Share Out: How did designing a mind map help you organize your ideas on the topic you chose?

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • The teacher will informally observe students during the design process in order to ensure that they are able to:
    • Create a mind map that represents ideas on a given topic.
    • Be able to share their mind-map with the teacher.
  • The teacher will informally assess understanding during the whole-group debrief.

Optional: Provide students with a simple checklist designed to help them self-assess themselves as they complete each step of this process.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Innovative Designer
4a. Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:
Immersive Reader for Chrome
Popplet Lite for iOS

Create a Mind Map in Canva

How to Create Mindmaps and Webs with Padlet
Immersive Reader

How to Use Popplet

Natural Reader




Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer's purpose.

Mind map the research while doing projects on famous people in the integrated arts. 

Mind mapping can be used to help students make connections between mathematical concepts and/or connect a mathematical concept to practical applications.

  • 5-ESS3-1
    Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

  • Mind-mapping is a great way to collect and organize information from a variety of sources.

Mind map and explore relevant issues that surround the First Amendment.

This task card was created by Jean Smith, Van Buren Public Schools, January 2018. Updated October 2023.