How to Make an Event Chain Concept Map

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Event chain concept maps organize information into a series of steps. Sage Publishing, a textbook company, says they help students see how one event leads to the next, and so on, all the way to the final result. Another textbook publisher, Glencoe, says this kind of concept map helps in science classes to show the steps in a procedure or natural process.

1 Gathering Information

Before making your map, review your notes or textbook to determine what needs to be mapped. To map how the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire for history class, for example, your notes or textbook should help you decide what to include. Take notes specific to the map to make sure you have each step. Look for the most important steps in the process. For the Roman example, you may decide the main events are the expansion of territory, the increase in slaves, unemployment in Rome, the use of temporary dictators and an increase in the number of armies and the power of generals.

2 Choosing Your Initiating Event

Read through your list of events to find the one that started the process. Write the first event on the top of a sheet of paper in a box that's centered on the page. That is the initiating event. For example, you may decide that the first event that led to the fall of the Roman Republic was the expansion of the territory, so you would write that down on the top of the page in your centered box. You would then draw a small arrow pointing straight down in the direction of your next event.

3 Adding the Other Events

Go through the rest of your events and add them to your concept map in order. Write the second event underneath the arrow you drew. Do the same thing with your other events until you have the chain completed. After adding an event, ask yourself, “What did that lead to?” or “What did that cause?” to help you determine what should go next. Going back to Rome, you could say the increased territory led to more slaves, which caused more Romans to be unemployed. Unemployment led more Romans to join the army, which made the generals more powerful, which led to temporary dictators to appease the generals and help the country deal with other threats.

4 Another Way

Instead of looking at the consequences of a specific event, you might want to look at the causes. If so, construct a chain of events concept map going backward. Start at the bottom of the page with the result you are studying, write it down in a centered box, and ask, “What made this happen?” Add the answer to that question above it and draw an arrow down to the result. Keep going back until you get to the first event. This method can be useful for history or civics classes when you need to trace how things came to be.

Residing in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Buddy Shay has been in higher education since 2003 with experience in the classroom and in academic support. He holds a Master of Arts in English. Shay is also a certified practitioner of the MBTI personality instrument and has previous experience working with secondary students.