Vocabulary mats and vocabulary study slips are my GO-TO tools for SCIENCE VOCABULARY mastery!
After years of teaching science through hands-on experiments, class discussions, and other science activities, I had a huge realization…
My students were not internalizing and mastering our science vocabulary through the osmosis of my amazing teaching.
Perhaps students who had experienced years and years of rich science lessons and those who had the natural curiosity to read and learn about science topics were doing just fine, but many of my students needed me to set aside intentional instructional time to specifically address vocabulary exposure, practice, and mastery.
These students wouldn't master the vocabulary or be prepared to pass our state science test simply because they LOVED science, because they engaged in the activities that I planned for them, or because they could collaborate with classmates during science experiments. I realized that my students could be lovers of science and still risk bombing the state test or worse—not carry the science vocabulary they should have learned to the next grade level.
I decided I had to do something to ensure that my students were truly mastering the vocabulary of our science units—that they could speak the language of science and felt confident in the meanings of key terms.
Vocabulary Mats and study slips became a fun, effective way that my students could practice key science vocabulary in just 10 minutes a few times a week. After “playing” with their vocabulary mats again and again, my students began using key science terms in their science writing and confidently speaking the language of science. Best of all, as students used the mats again and again, they could see themselves getting better and better at learning their words!
With study slips, students could see the term, definition, and a pictorial representation of their vocabulary words. Now, they were able to easily review definitions, quiz themselves, and check their answers. As they moved through their practice sessions, they could spend their time focusing on the words that they were having difficulty remembering. While I didn’t assign “studying” for homework, many students were motivated to take their word mats and study slips home to keep reviewing their words! HOW EXCITING!
Science Vocabulary mats and study slips are where it's at!
I've watched students, including English language learners and those with learning challenges, master their science vocabulary more easily.
What topics are you teaching in science this year?! Say "NO!" to index cards and piles and piles of science vocabulary words to study!
Vocabulary Mats and Study Slips (PLUS Multiple Choice and Open-Ended Quizzes) are available for the following topics:
USING VOCABULARY MATS
After cutting apart the definitions sheet, students place definitions over the top of the words on the word mat FACE UP so that the teacher can see their matches.
While students are practicing with their vocabulary mats, I rotate the room checking over students' answers. I turn all of the CORRECT answers face down so that the student knows those matches are correct!
I leave any INCORRECT answers face up or move the incorrect answers off of the word mat so that students know it needs to be revisited.
I use vocabulary mats as a prior knowledge assessment activity at the beginning of our science units. I like to see what my students already know at the start of a unit and I like to give students the opportunity to see and feel the growth as we practice with vocabulary mats again and again.
Is science a tested subject in your grade level?
When 4th quarter rolls around, I turn my word study block into a science vocabulary review period.
Students pull out their vocabulary mats and choose which science concepts they need to spend their time studying. 15 minutes of class time goes a long way to help students master their vocabulary.
As we get closer to the test, students also take their vocabulary mats home and use them to study their words.