Concept maps allow students to see the relationship between one idea and another. They present a process in logical steps, breaking up a large subject into smaller basic concepts to help with retention. Transpiration describes the way in which plants utilize water, a process commonly illustrated in a concept map.
1. Draw a rectangle (about an inch long and a quarter inch high depending on your handwriting size) at the top of a sheet of blank paper using a pencil and write inside: “transpiration.” This is the name of the cycle and is used as the header for the process to follow.
2. Draw a line extending from the center of the first rectangle and two that break off, one to the right and one to the left, to two more rectangles. In the left rectangle write “xylem” and in the right rectangle write “phloem.” The xylem and phloem are the transportation pipes that allow minerals and water to move through the inside of the plant.
3. Next to the “xylem” rectangle write: “contains vessels that transport water and salts from the root hair cells,” to explain its purpose.
4. Beside the “phloem” box write: “contains sieve tubes with cytoplasmic strands that transport sugar and amino acids from the mesophyll cells in the plant’s leaves.”
5. Connect the two rectangles labeled “xylem” and “phloem” by drawing lines from the center of the base to the middle of the page. At this meeting point draw another box and write inside: “other plant cells.” This indicates that more than the xylem and phloem play a part in the transpiration process, although they are the most important.
6. Draw a long line from the left side of the “xylem” box down past the other boxes and notes and end it with another rectangle. Inside write “assisted by transpirational pull.” Transpirational pull is the process by which water evaporates into the plant cells. The amount of cells creates a very strong force that pushes against the inside of the xylem, pulling more water from the ground into the vacuum.
7. Draw a small vertical line from the “transpirational pull” box connected to a horizontal line extending across the width of the page. Along the length of the short vertical line write: “affected by,” to denote the main elements that affect the rate of transpirational pull in a plant.
8. Create five equally spaced boxes from the horizontal line connected by small vertical lines. Label the boxes as follows: “speed of wind,” “outside temperature,” “humidity,” “strength of sunlight” and “leaf composition.”
9. Complete the map by going over the boxes and lines in colored inks or marker pens to make concepts clearer or code them for studying as suits your needs. Place a small diagram of a plant next to the concept map with arrows that reflect the process described in the boxes.