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Affinity Mapping

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Affinity Mapping is a collaboration-focused concept mapping strategy to help students break down complex ideas.


Beginning with a big idea or question, students write as many ideas or responses as come to mind and post in no particular order (like sticky notes on a whiteboard or consider digitizing with things like Google Jamboard or Padlet – any type of collaborative posting). This can be done individually or in groups or partners.

Once students have finished posting (either by a time limit, post count, or otherwise), students then separate the ideas or responses into categories or groups by shared characteristics. The categories can be determined together or given by the teacher.

To extend the activity, students can discuss how the categories relate or write individually on the nature of the different categories or ideas.


Read more at Jennifer Gonzalez’s Big List of Discussion Strategies.

Watch a concise summary of the strategy here:

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