Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding The Electromagnetic Spectrum - Section 3: Vocabulary Review: Writing Vocabulary in the Shape of their Definition


I have found this strategy to be extremely successful in helping students connect to vocabulary.  Students tend to remember pictures and images more readily than “memorizing” a definition.  These images help them remember vocabulary to use in their writing and in their speaking.  Moreover, these can demonstrate misconceptions in a way that simply repeating a definition cannot.  In this lesson, I only have each table create one of these vocabulary.  However, you can use this strategy in so many ways.  After each group presents, you could have tables rotate vocabulary words and develop new picture definitions.  You could use this as a review before an assessment.  You could have each table develop a picture definition for all six of the vocabulary words.  You could assign a couple as homework.  You could use it as a closure to your lesson.  There are so many valuable places that you can insert this strategy.

One note of caution:  It can be tempting for the students to simply draw a picture and label it with the word.  The key to this activity is engaging students in thinking that the actual word needs to be written in a shape that shows meaning.  For example, simply drawing a mirror and writing the word “Reflection” under it would not meet the criteria.  However, drawing a mirror and then writing the letters “R-E-F-L-E” at an angle moving towards the mirror and the letters “C-T-I-O-N” moving at an angle back away from the mirror would be acceptable.

  Writing Vocabulary in the Shape of their Definition
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Writing Vocabulary in the Shape of their Definition
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The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Unit 1: Waves: An Introduction and Exploration of Wave Properties
Lesson 7 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to recognize that waves have a specific wavelength and frequency and that scientists and engineers use this knowledge to develop technologies that meet our societal needs and wants.

Big Idea: Students review characteristic properties of model using a fun vocabulary strategy and create a graphic representation of electromagnetic waves and their uses.

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