Are you looking for fun and engaging activities to introduce sciency-vocabulary to your students?
We got you!
We’ll outline three of our favs for getting you and your students excited about learning science. These activities are perfect for elementary school teachers, but you can adapt for any grade level or experience.
First, think about what you already know about teaching vocabulary. You know vocabulary is essential to learning new concepts. Teaching science words can sound hard but draw on your successes in teaching kids other types of vocabulary. Typically state and national standards require students to do a few things with words to demonstrate their mastery, including name, identify, and describe. You can cover most of those with each activity.
A few other things to think about when teaching vocabulary. We must talk about the words in context. For the hands-on activities, you and students can discuss how they might use a word in a sentence, in a lab, or outside.
Writing words is also essential. In these activities, they write the words as part of the preparation, so it doesn’t seem like they are copying vocab words.
Movement elevates every activity in a classroom. All three of the activities will have kids up and moving.
Have kids get creative! Create is the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy. When students create something, they put their critical thinking skills to use.
Let’s get started.
In this activity, students use words in context, practice writing the words, and get moving.
- Give students a numbered list of vocabulary words.
- Give each student a card or small piece of paper.
- Students count off, so each student has a number corresponding to the vocab list. If needed, more than one student can have the same word.
- Students find their number on the list and write down the word on the card.
- You hide the word cards around the room.
- Give students a definition, and then they take turns running around the room to find the correct word card.
- Once students find their cards, they use the word in a sentence.
- Give students five popsicle sticks.
- Either give students a list of words or have words on the board for them to copy.
- Each student writes one vocabulary word on each popsicle stick.
- Put the sticks into a container.
- Students take turns pulling one stick out of the container. They have to give a definition, synonym, or description of the word.
- Don’t worry if there are repeat words! This allows students to reinforce the definitions.
- Another idea: if a word comes up repeatedly, have students give an antonym. Or act out the word.
- Gather up all the leftovers from other projects, including items like paper scraps, almost gone glue, markers, tape, rubber bands, paper towels, tissues, broken stuff, and anything else you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Think of it as cleaning out your junk drawers. Add playdough, legos, clay, or clean items to the recycling bin.
- Give each student a word from the vocabulary list.
- Students create a model of their word using the junk items.
- When they are done, they explain their creation to the class.
We hope these ideas give you some quick, fun, and engaging solutions to implement with your students!
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