1. Background and Motivation
Generally, words are used as tool of thinking by human. However, the ability of expressing in young children is not mature. It is better for children to express what they exactly feel via non-verbal pictures, charts, concept map and semantic network. "Picture" is not limited by nationality and language and is the best tool for young children to explore new things and learning. Here another point made by Arnheim seems provocative: Every picture is a statement. The picture does not present the object itself but a set of propositions about the object; or, if you prefer, it presents the object as a set of propositions (Arnheim, 1969). Through browsing concrete picture, young children are able to describe its content or even draw the content. "Mind map" can be seen as a product of memory. Mind mapping, Morning Pages, and Brainstorming are a few such tools that help one to collect and organize their creative output (Gino et al, 2004). Left brain manages the regular, ordered and linear logics, such as process of drawing, while right brain manages observation and sensation on features of objects, thinking on creativity, such as image, space, affection, etc. According to Filippakopoulou and Nakos (2009), children are exposed to maps from an early age. Map understanding progresses slowly and gradually from easy to difficult concepts. Theories of children's spatial development, mainly deriving from psychological studies, have provided the theoretical basis for approaching the way children use maps. The results of three decades of theoretical and experimental studies offer insight into children's thinking as to how they handle information while using maps and also provide evidence regarding the development of concepts associated with the basic characteristics of maps. There is still a lot more to be said. Specialists on children and mapping persistently ask for map literacy, facing children as map users in the information technology era.
Previous studies have suggested that children's learning of the relation between number words and approximate numerosities depends on their verbal counting ability, and that children exhibit no knowledge of mappings between number words and approximate numerical magnitudes for number words outside their productive verbal counting range (Barth, Starra & Sullivan, 2009). Tony Buzan (1997) considers that radiant thinking is the most natural way for brain to function, while mind mapping is the best visualization tool to reflect radiant thinking of brain and maximize brain potential. As a graphic knowledge representation tool, a mind map 500 diagrams key ideas in a topic area and demonstrates the relationships among them (Novak, 1998; Hill, 2004). Thus, this study explores whether mind mapping can be applied by young children.
2. Theory and Practice of Mind Mapping
Mind map is a presentation form of radiant thinking, utilizing lines, colors, characters, numbers, symbols, images, pictures …