Activity 3: Comparing Information and Ideas


Select a topic, either in class or with a few friends. It can be a problem, a topic you are all interested in learning more about, or a plan for a project you have to do. Have everyone in the group take four or five minutes to write down everything you know about this topic.

While you are doing this, let your brain and imagination run loose. Write down everything. Don't worry about the order, categories, or even spelling.  Relax, but write as fast as you can and don't stop.

When you are finished, compare the different lists and ideas. Are you surprised by the differences? Are there more similarities than differences? Did you discover you know more about the topic, problem, or project than you thought you did?

This is a good exercise to do on your own if you are, for example, having trouble deciding on a research paper topic or experiencing the common problem of not being able to get started writing a paper. Once you have generated your list, you can figure out what you know and what you don't know. You can make different categories and sub-categories. Then, you can decide how to go about finding out more.