Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Using Maps to Model Sea Level Rise - Section 2: Engage


To help students make sense of new science vocabulary and learn the skill of making meaning of words by their parts I follow the steps below with my class. We do this out loud through Socratic questioning.

1. Look at an unfamiliar word, and break it down into roots. Write these down.

2. Define the parts (prefix, suffix, root) you are familiar with.

3. For the parts you don't know, brainstorm other words where you may have heard/read before and see if there is an applicable meaning in this context.

4. If they can’t make any connections, I provide some for them until they get it.

5. Put all the parts together and make a reasonable definition in context.

6. Refer to the actual definition to check for accuracy.


With repeated practice your students will get very good at this and you teaching them to be self-reliant.

A great resource to teach both you and your student Greek/Latin Roots is the two volume series: English From The Roots Up.  I have used these books for nearly two decades in my teaching and have found them to be quite helpful. In addition, I like to keep a book on word origins handy. Mine is at  the front of class. This way, when students ask about where certain words originated, I don't have to wait to get a response for them. My favorite book is the Dictionary of Word Origins.

  Building On What We Know to Learn Science Vocabulary
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Building On What We Know to Learn Science Vocabulary
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Using Maps to Model Sea Level Rise

Unit 4: Understanding Our Changing Climate: Impact on Oceans
Lesson 2 of 10

Objective: SWBAT model and analyze the impact of sea level raise on coastal communities.

Big Idea: Using GIS software, students work in groups to explore various sea level rise scenarios.

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5 teachers like this lesson
Science, Climate Change, acid rain, ocean, Carbon, Sea level rise, tides, map, apps
  80 minutes
screen shot 2014 12 30 at 5 52 24 pm
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