Reflection: Performance Tasks Etymology of Biology - Section 4: Independent Practice


Oftentimes, science instruction is perceived as its own language. One of the greatest challenges facing my students in learning biology is the acquisition of the scientific language associated with the content. To address the difficulty my students face with science language, its important that they are able to both identify and define root words that are commonly used in scientific language. This skill also helps students when they encounter new science terms that they will be able to decode.

This assignment is more of a summative task, in that it is intended for use after students have had opportunities to learn and use science vocabulary. I find that students who are experiencing success with the content are more readily able to perform the task with little to no reference to their notes and vocabulary maps (used from the start of instruction beginning with the lesson, Life is for the Living). However, students who are experiencing less success with the content will need to use their notes and vocabulary maps to identify terms that use the root words. The benefit of the scaffolding support is that struggling students will gain from the repeated exposure to the terms.

I love this assignment because it totally engages my students. They enjoy coming up with their own memory cues or images for the terms and I always learn from them when I review their work.

  Performance Tasks: Vocabulary Acquisition
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Etymology of Biology

Unit 4: Unit 5- Biology Basics
Lesson 4 of 5

Objective: Students will build their language acquisition skills by learning common Greek and Latin word stems.

Big Idea: The structure and composition of scientific words is Greek to me.

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7 teachers like this lesson
Science, etymology, Latin and Greek roots, morphemes, vocabulary acquisition, word stems, creativity, root words
  60 minutes
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