To support retrieval practice I often use mind mapping & blind mapping.

Students make a mind map with content for a specific topic (as focused as possible). I find it is often necessary to model this process first of all, using Lemov’s “I do – we do – you do” fomat.

  • I will model the content included using the visualiser.When I am modelling it is a ‘no pens’ activity: Full attention on the work I am demonstrating, thus providing as much working memory capacity to follow my demonstration and answer questions, as possible. (I do)
  • Doing this involves lots of Q & A with the group, which is mostly cold-call. Dependent upon the group, how you organise this may vary, especially when using this for the first few times. To increase confidence and avoid tumbleweed, I often start Q&A with think, pair, share type questioning and then move to independent questioning as the group increases in confidence. This is often helped using mini-white boards too. (We do)
  • When I have completed modelling students can then fill out their own mind map, I will circulate, supporting where necessary. (You do)

When students are well versed in mind mapping you can then use the template purely for retrieval. Whereby, they will use the template to stimulate retrieval, gradually removing the scaffold of the template as their confidence increases and they have secured success, thus becoming a blind map.

So, it may look like like:

I have included a series of mind map templates for each GCSE biology topic (split into sub-topics) to link key ideas and to ensure retrieval is kept to manageable sections, and does not cognitively overload.


These are designed to fit the AQA Biology specification. Please feel free to download and use as you see fit.


These are designed to fit the AQA Trilogy Combined specification (biology section) All triple content removed. Please feel free to download and use as you see fit.

Moving forward

I will add mid maps for the required practicals soon, but when is anyone’s guess. I’ll also add completed versions of the mind maps just as soon as I’ve been into school and printed them out (I prefer to have a hand written script rather than a typed one, but that’s just me.)

NB: icons used for the mind maps were mostly from the Noun project