Brain-Webbing and Mind-Melding in Geography
By: Sawyer, Christian
One of the author's most challenging and rewarding features in teaching AP Human Geography to high school-age thinkers is helping his students forge connections among the terms and concepts covered--"to see the connections among the dots." Too often, he finds his students first approach learning through the "memorize and regurgitate" modality--breaking down the chapters and notes into discreet, memorized "terms," when Human Geography is built more on the relationships "among" ideas and skills. Given this challenge, the author has experimented with numerous teaching strategies to try to help his learners move beyond this order of thinking towards a more integrated, conceptual understanding of the interconnected layers of Human Geography. He has tried various notecard constructions, outlining methods, and review games. In this article, he discusses his most successful approach yet, a process he calls "brain-webbing and mind-melding," which is built upon the framework of concept mapping.