The purpose of knowledge maps is to present essential knowledge, clear diagrams, explanations, key vocabulary and key terms on one document. Knowledge maps give children (and teachers) the ‘bigger picture’ of a subject area / learning theme. Research shows that our brains remember things more efficiently when we know the ‘bigger picture’ and can see the way that knowledge links together. Making links, essentially, helps information move into our long-term memory. We have knowledge maps for most areas of the curriculum and they provide a very clear outline of exactly what we expect pupils to learn in each subject (the ‘intent’). They provide:
- A clear indication of the level of the expectations for each unit and year group.
- A clear outline of broader themes over the longer term
- An outline of the sequence of knowledge over the medium and long term
- A clear outline to help pupils incrementally develop conceptual understanding
Knowledge maps are used by teachers, pupils and hopefully families to further deepen learning for children. Teachers use knowledge maps to set clear expectations of what every pupil should learn and remember in the long term and to give a clear indication of what information is the emphasis in lessons. Pupils use knowledge maps to: quiz themselves in lessons and at home; to practise spelling key vocabulary; to further research people, events and processes most relevant to the unit and as a way to trigger memories from lessons about key information.
We hope that you can use knowledge maps to support your child in: understanding exactly what their children are supposed to learn and remember; to know what language they should use when discussing learning at home and to know how to support your child/ren in learning about a subject or learning theme.
Here are 5 fun ways to use knowledge maps with your child/ren.
- Flashcards: get pupils to make a set of flashcards that include all of knowledge items for one section. They can then use them in spare moments for self-quizzing
- Paired retrieval: get pupils to quiz each other on a knowledge item. Partner A reads out one part of the knowledge item (for example, ‘The Sea of Tranquility’) and Partner B responds with the associated information (‘a large, dark area of the moon where the astronauts of Apollo 11 landed’)
- Self-quizzing: ask pupils to use a blank piece of paper to cover one column of a table on the knowledge organiser, give them a few minutes to write down the associated definitions to each term, then allow them to check their answers
- Online quizzing: use an online quizzing platform such as Quizlet or Kahoot to create questions linked to the knowledge organiser, which pupils can complete independently or for homework
- ‘Just a Minute’: based on the popular Radio 4 show, ask pupils to try to list facts from their knowledge organiser for 1 minute straight, without repetition, hesitation or deviation