Concept Definition Map (Science) - Donna Sawyer

The Concept Definition Map (CDM) is strategy used for helping students develop a clearer and/or deeper understanding of concepts that they may be struggling with; it can also be used for introducing a new concept or vocabulary word. The words and illustrations/examples in a CDM are created by the individual student (making them personally meaningful) and therefore better serve to aid the student in drawing on, and applying, the concept(s) going forward. Students also develop a personalized definition using the words and illustrations/examples from their CDM. It is through the use of multiple methods (symbolic words/phrases, illustrations, examples and writing) that students can reinforce their understanding and comprehension of the focus concept; the CDM also serves as a useful differentiation and/or scaffolding tool, for this reason.
For this demo, the teacher will be incorporating the Concept Definition Map into the lesson in response to the confusion that many of the students have been experiencing in discerning physical changes from chemical changes. The teacher will announce the purpose for using the CDM at the start of the lesson and then explain what it is and how to develop one; the teacher will then model a CDM for chemical changes on the board (step-by-step), using a think-aloud strategy when appropriate.
Once the teacher has demonstrated the model, the students will be given a blank CDM worksheet. The teacher will tell the students to create their own (individual) CDM for physical changes. Due to the fact that many of the students have demonstrated difficulty in understanding what physical and chemical changes are, they will likely need some scaffolding to completed the activity. To address that need, the teacher has created student groups (heterogeneous) which the students can gather in to and discuss the focus concept (physical changes) before starting their individual CDM. Also, students may use their textbooks and notes to aid them in creating their personalized CDM. Students that struggle with reading and comprehension will be given a brief summary page detailing the basics of physical changes with keywords highlighted in the summary.
The teacher will circulate the room to observe student understanding of the assignment and provide clarity and scaffolding through inquiry-based questions, as needed. The teacher will collect the CDM at the end of class to assess whether the students created an accurate CDM and to determine which areas continue|to be a source of weakness/confusion in understanding the focus concepts and to also identify particular students who continue to struggle so that those issues can be addressed by the teacher.
The CDM will be returned to the students to be used as a resource for the upcoming lab activity which hinges upon the student’s understanding of both, chemical and physical properties and changes.
Small group assistance will be provided by the teacher to students who had difficulty developing the CDM prior to the lab activity next week.

Here is a link with a blank CDM taken from the following Scholastic website

Concept Def. Map Model