Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Transformation Tuesday: Engaging Vocabulary Strategies- How Are We Related?

Today's vocabulary activity is called "How Are We Related?" and reinforces the relationship between mathematical terms and vocabulary. It's a great activity to promote critical thinking as students search for the relationship between seemingly unconnected terms. It's also a great way to increase the rigor of the average definition-focused vocabulary activity because students have to truly understand the word in order to be able to connect it to another word. 

Frame by Catherine S from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Borders-1983569
Here's how it works: 

1. Pick two grade-level math vocabulary words or terms. You may want to ask students to define the words before continuing.  

2. Give students think time. 

3. Have students complete the sentence: A (An) __________ is like a (an) __________ because ___________________. They are different because _______________________. 

Here are some examples: 

a. A rectangle is like a square because they both have four sides. They are different because a square must have four equal sides and the sides on a rectangle do not have to be equal.

b. An inch is like a gallon because they are both used as units to give measurements. They are different because inches are used in linear measurement and gallons are used to measure capacity. 

c. Add is like subtract because they are both actions. They are different because to add means to join objects and to subtract means to separate objects. (This is a very general statement but should be validated. As the teacher, you can then elaborate on the uses of addition and subtraction.)  

d. A fraction is like a decimal because they are both parts of wholes. They are different because fractions are represented as a part over a whole (or set) using a horizontal  bar, or vinculum, to separate the numerator from the denominator and a decimal is represented as a number where the part is expressed by digits placed to the right of a decimal point and the whole is a power of ten. (Whew! That was a challenge!)

This activity can be challenging, so you may want to begin by choosing words where students can easily find a relationship and then gradually choose words where the relationship is harder to find. Also, be sure to validate any connection that will work, even if a student says that both terms are action words. Reward the thinking here and elaborate or correct misconceptions later. 

Sound Off! How do you review and reinforce vocabulary with your students?


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