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Activity 2- Concept Mapping

Activity Description

The class begins as a post-lab exercise from Activity 1. It then transfers what the students have learned about concept mapping to reading and evaluating a newspaper article about science. The reading activity breaks Article 1 into accessible components and engages students in expanding their concept maps and creating or illustrating charts or graphs to depict the data described in the paper.

Estimated Time of Activity

2 hours or 2 to 3 class periods

Activity Objectives

Students will be able do the following as a result of the activity:

  1. Learn to read and critically think about a newspaper article.
  2. Translate scientific research into a concept map combining prior and new knowledge of the topic.
  3. Understand the importance of understanding of the affect of toxins on a model organism.

Activity Prerequisites (Pre-Activity)

Students should have a basic understanding of concept mapping from Activity 1. They should also have first hand observations of the effect of ethanol on blackworms. 

Activity Instructions

  1. Create a concept map as a class, asking students to draw from their Activity 1 observations.
  2. Form students into groups and distribute the newspaper article. Students should skim the article and on their sheets of paper identify general themes and additional concepts to be added to the group map.
  3. Read- Students should read the complete article closely, noting unfamiliar words in a bound vocabulary journal to be looked up later online or in a dictionary. 
  4. Ask the students: If the reporter had visually represented the data described, using a chart or graph, what might that chart or graph have looked like? Have students work together to decide how to plot hypothetical data on the reverse side of their paper. 


Non-formative- participation with the group and class discussion

Formative- Concept map, current vocabulary notebook.


  1. In class participation: class concept map, group work.
  2. In class work: group list of article themes and additional concepts to add to map, group graph or data chart.
  3. Homework: define vocabulary words in vocabulary journal


Instructor's Notes

CREATE is a methodology that teaches students to read science writing critically, ideally developing scientific literacy. Designed by Dr. Sally Hoskins (Professor of Biology at The City College of NY), the method builds students’ critical analytical skills and understanding of the research process. Since CREATE is the cornerstone of Unit 1, two resources are provided for teachers to learn the method. 

  1. Dr. Hoskins’ paper But if it’s in the newspaper, doesn’t that mean it’s true? – Developing critical reading and analysis skills by analyzing newspaper science with C.R.E.A.T.E. (American Biology Teacher 72(7): 415–420).
  2. CREATE Tutorial which provides a simple, straightforward rubric, in slide format, that illustrates each step in the CREATE pedagogy along with samples of student work.

Instructors should read both before teaching the  course. 


Return to course description.