Science Vocab

Aligned with NC Essential Standards

Conservation of Energy
Ecosystems Bingo




Ecosystems Vocab Mat

Energy AND Matter Mat

Matter Vocab Activities
Ecosystems Vocab Activities





         Weather Mat



Posts about Vocabulary

Why is Vocabulary Instruction Important?

Biome Characteristics

NEW Rocks and Minerals Vocabulary Mats 

Vocabulary Assessment Strategies

I use two main strategies to assess students vocabulary background knowledge at the beginning of each of our science units. First, I prepare a list of key words for the unit (sometimes including a few words that are not necessarily new for our grade-level, but that will provide students with some words that they feel confident about). I type these words in large font, copy onto cardstock, and laminate for posting in the room. I use these word lists in the following two strategies: 

1) Categorize and Label
Students take the list of words and work independently to sort them into groups that make sense based on their prior knowledge. After sorting all words, students write a label or explanation for each group. While I use this at the beginning of a unit, it is also a great strategy to have students sort the words again later in the unit to show growth in knowledge–their groupings should become more precisely based on the relationships between the words. For some units of study, I have created vocabulary cards for students, printed on cardstock, and allowed them to sort the words more actively. Modifying the strategy to make it more interactive may work better for younger students.

2) Vocabulary Knowledge Continuum
Given the same list of words, students then sort them on a knowledge continuum–from this word is totally new to me to I know many ways this word could be used.
Now for the laminated words, you could use either strategy for posting the words in the room. For Categorize and Label, I like to give each student a word and allow them to silently group themselves around the room. I tack their groupings to a bulletin board and we continually refer back to the list as we learn new things. Students give me feedback on how to re-arrange the words. Other teachers have used the Vocabulary Knowledge Continuum to post the words, and as lessons are taught, unknown words are moved closer to the “greater knowledge” category.
You can purchase materials for these two strategies from my teacherspayteachers store for each NC 5th grade science goal.

Ecosystems Vocabulary–Prior Knowledge Strategies This packet also includes a Categorize and Label based on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. (Most of my ecosystems unit revolves around the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the environmental issues that affect the bays’ health.  

Weather Vocabulary–Prior Knowledge Strategies (this one includes a cheat sheet of definitions for teachers)

Landforms Vocabulary–Prior Knowledge Strategies (this one also includes a cheat sheet of definitions for teachers)

Vocabulary Review Strategies

Vocabulary Mat Strategy: I came up with this strategy as an alternative to flash cards or match up games where students have both the vocabulary word and the definition. I have found that too many cards can impede students’ learning and review of vocabulary–thus vocabulary mats were born. The “mats” contain the vocabulary words and stay intact. The definitions are on another page and meant to be cut apart. Having students cut apart the definitions versus the words forces them to have to read the definitions when they are sorting cards onto the mats. Students take the definitions and lay them on the matching vocabulary word on the mat. Here are my four vocabulary mat products on Teacherspayteachers.



NC 5th Grade Science teachers get all 4 unit mats together--great study tool for students to take home and get revved for the Science EOG. 

Other Vocabulary Materials

Ecosystems Vocabulary Graphic Organizer


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