I'm having students create a concept map as a summative assessment for our Complex Numbers unit and... w o w — there is all kinds of learning going on.
Students are working in groups and can use all their notes and assignments from the unit. Some kids jumped right in and started hacking away. Others whined and asked why we couldn't just have a normal test.
We are using Post-Its, scissors, pencils, and paper to do our constructions.
In-process projects range from amazing to struggling, but what impresses me most is how much the work reveals about what students are figuring out and how each student is understanding and constructing meaning in their learning. It also demands that learners own their own learning.
Because this is so revealing, I am probably going to use concept maps both as formative assessments before and during the unit as well as using them as a 'ways of understanding' tool to help them consolidate their learning.
BREAKING: OK, this activity is definitely a keeper. Students are really digesting their learning, talking about it, debating how to represent it, and clarifying areas of confusion for themselves. Here is an outstanding example from today: