Dissecting an article

Age: 10 – 12 yrs or older


Popplet is a web tool for mind mapping.  Easy to use, you just have to double-click to create “boxes” where you can insert text, images or videos and build information flows – connections between the “boxes”. This collaborative tool has the plus of allowing to create tags to identify the collaborators who have added or changed content. You can also zoom maps, create slideshows, record a predetermined path. Once completed, the conceptual map (Popplet) can be shared via link or downloaded in .pdf or .jpg extensions.


While studying the characteristics of ‘informative text’, students will analyze a specific text according to its structure and content.

The teacher gives each group of students an informative text,  along with some useful vocabulary related to the topic. She also hands out a questionnaire with some questions concerning an informative text analysis. Some possible questions are:

  • Who, What, Where, When, Why?
  • What was the author’s main message or idea?
  • How does the author develop each part of the idea?
  • What is the author’s intent?

The students must analyze the text, according to these guidelines, and establishing relationships about the message in the text. Using  Popplet, they create a diagram of the text,  including the connection between the ideas, images, notes, etc.

What do I need?

Added value

The Popplet is an excellent cognitive tool to help students organize and structure thinking. In addition to supporting the workout of reading and selection of information, the construction of conceptual maps allows the student to explain situations with their own words, making learning meaningful because new knowledge (concepts, ideas) are more easily understood and assimilated during the activity. In understanding the different possibilities to represent the information, the student also develops strategies to solve new problems. The facility of redesign during the building process and the collaboration between peers promotes a higher motivation and desire to learn, arousing the curiosity and participation of the students.

Hints and tips

The teacher can select informative texts from newspapers, magazines, but can also use the textbooks of students – textbooks of history, geography or science, for example.

Before starting this activity with Popplet, in case of younger students, the teacher can begin by performing small schemes on the blackboard during the exploration of texts with the class and request the creation of simple diagrams in the notebook.

The teacher can also make a Popplet scheme in a joint activity with the class, so that students understand what they can do with this tool.

Other opportunities to use the same software

Popplet can be used at any age, to produce text in a text planning or to planning research. The systematic use of conceptual maps (maps, diagrams or ideas) is very helpful for  the organization and production of written text.

It can also be useful in any area of education, for brainstorming activities or for the development of synthetic contents worked. In this case, students represent through a mind- map the schematic summary of what was learned.

By Helena Felizardo, Portugal

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)

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2 Responses to “Dissecting an article”

  1. Jenny Hughes
    jenhughes July 14, 2013 at 14:55 #

    i LOVE this – I never used to ‘get’ mind mapping software (what’s wrong with using a pen and paper??) but this one is great – in particular because lots of people can work on it plus you can indicate the “logical flow” of ideas etc

  2. Karen Fraters November 15, 2013 at 22:39 #

    What an easy way to mind map! You can ask students to organise/structure what was learned, and by sharing or exporting the popplet, the teacher can give feedback. The popplet can als be presented. Will certainly give it a try!

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