Flow Charts

Flow Charts help us visualize a process

Flow charts are generally associated with business or with computer programming. They are designed to display clearly each step in a procedure.  The illustration on the right shows four basic flow chart symbols. The rectangle with rounded edges can only mean start or begin and end. The parallelogram always indicates input such as information or resources. Rectangles always indicate that you do something with what you have. and the diamonds hold questions such as “Is the water up to the boiling point? If yes” and an arrow points one direction and “if no” and an arrow points another direction.

Someone giving a large party might draw a flow chart listing the Basic flow chart symbols or shapes are shown.things to do beginning weeks before the party. These charts often include questions leading in one direction if the answer is yes and another direction if the answer is no. They also frequently have loops.

The person having the party might write “Call the band to see if they can play.”  In another box, “if there is no answer call again in 3 hours”… and the arrow loops back to call the band. When the answer is yes – the next question “Does the band agree to come?”  If this answer is yes, the list continues to a new item.  If the answer is no, an arrow goes to” find a new band” and then back to “call the band.”

This kind of detail is necessary in computer programming and very helpful in planning a manufacturing process. It isn’t something I would normally use.

A much simplified version is a recipe. You gather all your materials. you first mix part of the ingredients, perhaps cook them briefly, and then add other ingredients. You sometimes will need to check what you are making for temperature or color (when the crust is golden brown). The recipe doesn’t show the process with flow chart symbols, but it does the same sort of thing.

If you are taking a laboratory science class, you may have fairly complicated directions that you really need to understand before you start. You could use a flow chart, though it doesn’t need to be quite so formal.

The steps below are an INFORMAL Flowchart for the Expanded SQ3R method of reading. Something like this can be practical.

                     An Informal Flow Chart for the SQ3R+  Reading Strategy


1. SURVEY the book. Look at the title, author, Bibliography, Table of Contents and Skim one or more chapters.

2. IF a chart, outline, or concept map of the Table of Contents would be useful, then do it. If not, go to #3

3. Write a list a QUESTIONS on the topic.

4. SURVEY the first chapter. Read the introduction and conclusion, look at headings,  pictures, charts,etc.

5. Write further QUESTIONS

6. READ the first section of the chapter

7. List unfamiliar terms and write their definitions.

8. RECITE. Go over in you mind what you understood in the reading section.

9. Did you understand the material and remember it well. If not go back to step 6. if yes go to step 10.

10. Use writing notes, write an outline, a concept map, or a summary of what you read.

11. Go to the next section… and go to step 6, repeating all these steps until you finish the chapter.

12. When you finish the chapter, plan your first short REVIEW  period for some time in the next 30 minutes, another after 2-3 hours, and one before going to sleep, continuing as needed.


If you have not read the pages on the reading method,  SQ3R+   you might be interested.


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