Kick off the new school year with lessons from our Back to School 2021 collection to help students express themselves, build relationships, and stay organized.

2. Brainstorm Topics and Words for Your Mind Map

Playback Speed:

In this video, you will start planning your mind map.

To begin, open the starter document from the last video.

Now, think about recent personal, local, or global events.

These could be things you experienced yourself or those you saw on the news or read about.

You may feel positively or negatively about these events.

You may also have experienced the events differently from others.

But you can include any events that impacted you no matter how they made you feel.

In your document, type at least 5 events you thought of.

If you are working with a partner or group, everyone can type at the same time, but be careful not to type over each other.

Feel free to make separate lists or include more events if you need to.

Don’t spend any longer than 5 minutes on this activity.

Now, choose 1 event you want to explore further in this lesson and highlight it.

This will be the main topic of your mind map.

If you are working with others to brainstorm and then will each be making your own mind map, each person may select the event of their choice and highlight it using a different color.

If you will be collaborating on the mind map too, you may need to come together for a discussion to select 1 event.

This example will use a general event, but you can use a more specific one as your main topic if it’s more meaningful to you.

Just make sure it’s an event you’ll be able to make a mind map from.

3 topics are started for you in the table.

Or, you can list your own topic in the last column.

Delete the topics you will not be using.

Next, brainstorm fifteen to twenty words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the main topic.

If you’re using one of the topics provided, you can replace any of the words listed with your own words.

Click in each new cell to add text.

Only spend about 5 minutes on this activity.

If you’re working with others on all parts of this project, you may want to make your list more general.

For example, using the phrase “missing friends” instead of “missing Ava and Izaak”.

If you’re collaborating only on the brainstorming part, you can make the phrases more specific in your own mind map.


  1. Type at least 5 recent events in the starter project
  2. Choose 1 event as your main topic and highlight it
  3. List 15-20 words or phrases that come to mind when you think of that event