What Are Graphic Organizers Used for?

Often pictures speak louder than words. Graphic organizers provide a pictorial representation of information. They are very useful while communicating with students. Students need very engaging content to ensure that they do not lose focus, long lectures with emphasis on textual matter are very boring for them, graphic organizers are an innovative approach which can help the teacher convert and present a lot of data in a simple to understand, structured, graphical format.

It is a scientifically proven fact that pictures are easier to register in the mind and memory than words. The teachers must concentrate on presenting the set of ideas in such a way that there is a central theme which links all the related information making it easy for students to understand the logical relationship in the information. Let us look at some of the commonly used formats for graphic organizers.


This format is used when you have a central idea and different attributes originating from it. So if you are discussing various cash crops grown in India during a geography class, keeping cash crops in the centre, you can list different cash crops such as sugarcane, cotton and jute.


If you have a central idea which is going to expand into more sub ideas which in turn will have more details associated with them, then the spider format is appropriate. Spider maps will have a central node with multiple legs and each leg can in turn be treated as a node and have multiple legs to indicate further detailing. So suppose you want to depict the breakup of a task such as building a house then you can list different activities such as procuring land, getting required permissions and so on. You can then list the various tasks under various activities in increasing detail.


This type of format is used to represent a cause effect relationship. So a single issue may have multiple related issues and these will have corresponding reasons. So a fishbone representation can be used to correlate the effects with the causes. Suppose you are trying to explain the reasons of global warming, a fishbone diagram can be a good starting point to convey the idea.


A tree format can be used to convey information of a hierarchical nature. If you want to represent the Moghal dynasty’s rule in India, you can plot their family tree using the tree format.


The cycle diagram is used to depict sequential relationships in a process. Suppose you want to show a biology class how a seed germinates, grows and finally flowers then you can use a cycle diagram.

Venn diagram

A Venn diagram is used to represent the similarities and differences between two processes. Suppose you want to compare and show how tornadoes and hurricanes have certain common characteristics and certain distinct characteristics, then a Venn diagram is very effective.

5 Ws

A lot of activities can be analyzed in terms of the 5 Ws i.e. who, what, when, why and where. So you can fill in this information is chart format to understand a particular issue better.