Brainstorming is the recording of an uninterrupted flow of ideas designed to promote creativity. Mind mapping is the construction of a diagram that shows links between concepts. In this step both brainstorming and mind mapping are used.
The main purpose of the brainstorm/mind map is to show the many areas within a theme and their interrelationships. When you, as a classroom teacher, conduct the brainstorm, you have control over the areas that might be emphasised, expanded and developed. For example in the topic energy, you may wish students to focus on ways of saving energy or on the use of sustainable energy sources (wind and water power) rather than burning coal.
Here are some of the main types of questions you might ask when carrying out the brainstorming/mind mapping. These types of questions are important bridges and examples for the next step in the process where students generate several possible questions for investigation.
Topic selection in a group of students can be challenging if group members have disparate views. It may be that a compromise can be reached or a completely different topic may need to be selected. The important thing is that students are interested in their topic. This gives them ownership of their learning. The students need to make the topic selection not the teacher.