Design Process Thinking: Mind Mapping

Last week, grade 11 art students began exploring their first major task:  #Canada150.  We devoted a few days to exploration:  looking through each of the artists’ sites and artworks, discussing their significance as well as our topic.  I wanted to use Design Process Thinking to guide our work because of its usefulness in TAB-based classrooms, and because Melissa Purtee had simplified the process so nicely.

Now, on to the fun part:  Step 2.  Time for Design!

Fate seemed to work in our favour, because Clara Lieu shared an October challenge called #ArtProfDare.  The “dare” is related to her theme of your future self, but she also invited participants to use mind mapping — a tool to help you think about a topic, and to consider multiple sub-topics or perspectives — so I decided to use it with our topic of #Canada150.

Students appreciated how mind mapping fit into Design Process Thinking, and they really enjoyed Clara’s 51 second video, which demonstrated mind mapping in action (with a very helpful explanation).

After discussing how we could use mind mapping with our topic (and sharing a short demo with my class), students began to let their thoughts flow freely…


My heart skipped a beat when Brandi discussed her love of trapping with me; my parents used to own a trapline, so I can’t wait to see where she goes with this!


Dennis has shared such beautiful thinking here ~ his honest questioning along with his connections to the land and older generations are already telling such a unique story…


I am fascinated with Ebony’s topics, and very curious about so many ideas that she shares in her mind map! I feel like this is the beginning of so many rich conversations for us.


I love reading through the mix of natural elements and aspects of Indigenous culture that Hannah has used in her mind map.  It helps to see some beautiful sketches in the corner too 🙂


Maya’s mind map is so intriguing; her thoughts flow freely through so many aspects of her life, including her liberal-minded family, expectations and feminism ~ wow!

I wasn’t kidding when I told my students that, like proud parents or grandparents who love boasting about their kids, I love sharing my students’ work.  Their thinking and their creations are absolutely fascinating, especially when they connect their work with their heads and their hearts.

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