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I need an interactive way for pupils to learn new vocabulary (secondary science)

(19 Posts)
EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 17:49:10

I have a list of keywords and I want the pupils to learn/discover the definitions.

I would usually ask them to find the word in textbook but this is for interview so textbooks they use are unfamiliar to me and therefore can't/don't want to rely on them.

I don't want to just tell them. I want them to discover for themselves.

current best idea is to have some fact sheets scattered around the room. Pupils are given the list of definitions and they have to circulate to find which keyword matches. They will also need to give an example for each keyword.

Help. Please.

Warrap Sun 23-Mar-14 17:54:25

Have you thought about using a corpus? There's a link here to the Focus project which is a corpus of texts written by Durham university students in different disciplines. You could use the advanced search option to limit the search to one particular discipline if you wanted.

Having them look through lots of examples to work out the definition would be a good example of data driven learning. PM me if you want more info.

Warrap Sun 23-Mar-14 17:55:13

BTW - this project started as a way of helping students to learn science vocab, so is very relevant to your needs smile

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 18:03:20

Just had a quick look. I think the texts are too advanced for my needs.

I'm looking for a 15min activity which will cater for pupils from L3 to L7. They are yr8

mousetours Sun 23-Mar-14 18:30:20

How many children? How many keywords?
You could have half with the key word and half with the definition then they have to find their partner.
Or dominos - each card has a word on one half and a definition on the other. They have to get themselves in a circle so the keywords and definitions match.
I have also done a variation on fruit salad (the game!) where several pupils have the same keyword. Definitions or examples are read out and all those with the correct keyword swap places. The one that is left out reads the next definition or example.

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 18:38:01

9 keywords.
27 children
mixed ability.

zummurzet Sun 23-Mar-14 18:38:45

Have you ever done a 'collective memory' activity - see TES link. Works brilliantly. Interactive, great speaking and listening, and it does really help children learn and remember things like new vocab. Present the new vocab, and simple definitions in a poster format, and children have to recreate in groups. That doesn't explain it well at all... But have a look.

tassisssss Sun 23-Mar-14 18:42:16

post its of the word - one per group/pupil

definitions stuck round walls

stick post it to what you think is the correct definition.

pull together powerpoint and follow up with matching sheet?

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 18:48:31

Hmmm....I like collective memory. I worry that some of theseddefinitions are too easy for my high ability kids. Some should be recap for most. I hate not knowing the group.....

too many words for the post its I think. .

PartyConfused Sun 23-Mar-14 18:53:44

I like tassis suggestion. I was going to say similar but with yhe otger pupils having the definitions, but as it is for interview, this maybe too much of a risk.

You could have a help corner with the sheets you suggested in your op, along with a sicence dictionary and text books. But I would insist the pupils can only use this is they have tried to discuss it with at least 2 other pupuls first (unless you are doing pairs?).

Good luck

PartyConfused Sun 23-Mar-14 18:55:26

But you could have colour coded post its! They can chose the difficulty. Great differentiation but the kids would have to chose.

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 19:02:58


I think I am going with Tassis suggestion.

Just need to think about the logistics.

Do I put them in groups and give the full set of 9 to each group?

I could put my definitions on envelopes and then the pupils put cards inside the envelopes and then they can't copy cat because they can't see what everyone else has chosen. And I also won't need 63 post its....

andsmile Sun 23-Mar-14 19:13:26

For higher ability can you when feeding back afer whatever you decide ask them to add an example, relevant materials/experiemntal method? (sorry not a science teacher)

Could they form a sentence using 2 or more key words

Any pictures they could draw and annotate

Form word ladder and say why each one links to the next?

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 19:19:03


on a worksheet I have the definition and they will have to fill in the keyword and an example.

my plenary is to describe 3 pictures. They must use at least one of the keywords in each description. I will have a cloze/writing frame available if needed

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 19:22:30

I just need ti work the logistics of the post it notes.

How many per pupil? Should they do it in groups?

My words kind of fall into 3 groups so each child could be forced to pick a post it from each group? Not really differentiated though. It would mean they all had to do an easy medium and hard...

PartyConfused Sun 23-Mar-14 19:27:07

If it's 15mins lesson, by the time you've introduced yourself and the activity, plus recapped at end with a mini - plenary, you will only have 5 mins for activity.

You have to get them out of their seats. I think that's important for a sci interview (especially with no practical).

You could give all 9 words and colour band them into 3 (3-4L, 4-5L, 5-7L or something). And tell them to chose after explaining that to them. Tell them to base their choice on their targets or what level they are currently working on.

You could have the definitions in envelopes next to the material (posters etc) and they pick up a definition for the words they have chosen. This saves writing time.

Plenary-run through of words with kids giving definitions?

tassisssss Sun 23-Mar-14 19:41:37

sounding really good.

liking the active learning, group work etc. good luck!

EdwiniasRevenge Sun 23-Mar-14 20:13:22

Its a full 60min lesson but ive got the rest of the lesson planned.

thanks for all the input.

andsmile Mon 24-Mar-14 00:30:02

i think you need to hit some higher order skills _ sorry I know you havtn shared your whole lesson plan so forgive me if its in there. From what you have posted you have got , recall, define, describe, label,

have you got any evaluation, prediction, what if, analyse in there.

Could the words be classified in any way then students have to justify theor choices?

good luck btw.

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