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Spider Map Graphic Organizer in the Classroom

By Natasha Lupiani

Find this Common Core aligned resource and more like it in our Elementary School and Special Education Categories!

What is a Spider Map?


A spider map is a brainstorming or organizational tool that provides a visual framework for students to use. Sometimes, this graphic organizer is called a “concept map” or a “spider web graphic organizer”. A spider map has a main idea or topic in the center, or the body, of the diagram. Each detail or sub-topic associated with the main idea has its own leg, or branch, surrounding the main idea.


Spider Maps Help You:

Spider Map Template
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Breaking Down the Spider Map

The title in the center of the spider map is the central topic, person, or vocabulary word. The map then branches out into separate cells to show details or examples of the topic. Having the main topic in the center and the ideas surrounding it reduces the temptation to give greater importance to particular details. The legs of the spider map are all treated equally!

Spider Maps - Basic Concept
Create your own at Storyboard That TOPIC Idea / Detail 5 Idea / Detail 1 Idea / Detail 2 Idea / Detail 3 Idea / Detail 4

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Classroom Use: How Can I Use the Spider Map in My Classroom?

The spider map concept and the storyboard format are a great combination that allow for a multi-disciplinary approach. It is a true enhancement to any classroom!


ELA History Foreign Language STEM
  • 5 Ws
  • Causes of a Significant Event
  • Important Historical Figures
  • Vocabulary
  • Characteristics
  • Cultural Examples
  • Brainstorming
  • Fraction Equivalents
  • Internet Safety

The basic premise of spider mapping is to familiarize students with a topic at a basic level. Elementary students, fora example, still have narrow scope of knowledge on many topics. Using a spider map with this age group encourages a deeper, more thought-provoking exploration about something they may not know much about.

Spider maps give the students a way to record and organize their ideas. In a spider map, the details are surrounding the central topic in a branch-like format. This naturally eliminates the hierarchy that a linear outline may portray.

Spider Map - Pets
Create your own at Storyboard That Image Attributions: Creepy Rabbit (https://www.flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville/213833016/) - SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Bird Park KL (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phalinn/940693213/) - phalinn - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Cat in Sink (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kretyen/2740694473/) - desertdutchman - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Hamster Mike (https://www.flickr.com/photos/marinaavila/2763843236/) - MarinaAvila - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Roxy At the Dog Park (https://www.flickr.com/photos/msvg/9386968830/) - MSVG - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) ORNATE TREE LIZARD Urosaurus ornatus (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gails_pictures/10358915733/) - gailhampshire - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Unknown fish (https://www.flickr.com/photos/photographybycolby/9771792621/) - Colby Stopa - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) CATS RABBITS BIRDS HAMSTERS (RODENTS) LIZARDS (REPTILES) FISH DOGS PETS

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Spider mapping can be used by all ages. It is most commonly used in the elementary grades, but middle school, high school, or even college students can benefit from using spider maps. They are a great way for older students to organize information. Often, students will start brainstorming and realize they know more, or less, than they originally thought.


The Crucible Vocabulary
Create your own at Storyboard That HYSTERICAL PRODIGIOUS PURGE PERSECUTE HEATHEN adj. deriving from, or affected by, uncontrolled, extreme emotion adj. impressively great in extent, size, or degree; abnormal v. to rid of an unwanted feeling, memory, condition, or element v. to subject to hostility and ill-treatment adj. not belonging to a widely held religion VOCABULARY IN THE CRUCIBLE That heathen devil worshiper is outside. I wish I could purge your death from my memory. During WWII the Jews suffered persecution by the Nazis. I heard the carnival was of prodigious size! My brother gets hysterical when he sees a mouse. Oooooooh!