How to Make a Flow Map

Flow maps display a sequence of events.
Flow maps display a sequence of events. (Image: business flow chart orange image by Nicemonkey from

A flow map is a type of thinking map that displays a sequence of events. Thinking maps are used to help organize and understand information. Flow maps consist of a series of boxes and arrows. Each of the boxes possesses a different event, which leads to the next occurrence. In order to make a flow map, decide on a series of events that you want to depict, outline the events in chronological order, draw the boxes and arrows, and then write the events within the boxes.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Poster paper
  • Eraser

Decide on the series of events that you desire to depict. Flow maps display how one event leads to another. Therefore, your series of events needs to be something with at least two different stages. For example, you may choose to create a flow map based on Piaget's stages of intellectual development.

Outline the events in chronological order. In order to make a flow map, on a separate sheet of paper, list the stages that you plan on putting on the flow map. For example, your flow map about the intellectual stages of development would consist of the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages.

Draw the boxes and arrows. A flow map consist of a sequence of boxes and arrows. The number of boxes corresponds to the number of stages, and the number of arrows is one less than the number of boxes. For example, the intellectual development flow map will have four boxes, one for each developmental stage. The flow map will have three arrows. The series of boxes is either drawn vertically, or horizontally. The arrows always point to the next box. The first box in the sequence only has an arrow pointing away from it, and the last box in the sequence only has an arrow pointing toward it.

Write the events within the boxes. Each box represents a single stage in the series of events. For example, the first box should be labeled "Sensorimotor Stage," the second box "Preoperational Stage," the third box "Concrete Operational Stage," and the fourth box "Formal Operational Stage."

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