In middle school science class, there are a lot of academic terminologies that students need to become familiar with and may have no background knowledge on. However, it is vital that they learn these terms to be able to become functional classroom scientists!
Try some of these fun activities that are our favorite resources to build stronger scientific vocabulary usage amongst your middle school students!
1. Personal Glossary
Have students take notes on key science vocabulary with a personal glossary! A helpful way to start a chapter is to front-load important terms...and it's simple! Have students keep a journal, you give the word and definition and they draw an illustration.
Learn more: Differentiated Teaching
2. Concept Mapping
This activity helps with concept building and is great for use at the end of a unit. This example is an ecosystem resource. The students build a sort of web based on the ecosystem. The students are given the list of words they should use and you will need to model a map for them prior.
Learn more: Mrs. Harris Teaches
3. Truth or Dare
Bingo is an easy and fun game for all ages! Using definitions in each square, students will be given a word by the teacher. They then have to decide which is the correct answer. This one is on ecosystems!
Learn more: Bingo Baker
4. List, Group, Label Graphic Organizer
Pre-reading activities are helpful when using a lot of science-specific terms. Give students a list of target vocab they will focus on. Then students will group the key terms into what they think makes sense and label them. It will help to identify words they are already familiar with and as they read, they can make corrections.
Learn more: AdLit
5. Choice Menu
A choice menu is similar to a choice board but in list form. You can dictate how many items students must complete and they check them off the list as they do them. It gives students some autonomy while learning their words!
Learn more: Babbling Abby
6. Concept Sort
If you want students to gain a deeper understanding rather than memorizing definitions, try a concept sort. It helps them to organize the words by grouping words that have to do with the same unit of study but are specifically related to one another.
Learn More: Reading Rockets
7. Vocabulary Stations for Electricity and Magnetism
8. Interactive Word Wall on Light
Increase student understanding with a bulletin board that is an interactive resource! You can do this for many key science concepts, but this site shows an example for refract vs. reflect, using real-world items. Students can look, touch, and explore with this word wall!
Learn more: The Science Toolkit
9. Flip Book for Types of Forces
This activity is an excellent tool for keeping terms organized. The colored-coded flip book is tabbed for vocabulary and key ideas on each force. It's no prep and has a digital version!
Learn more: The Trendy Science Teacher
10. Vocab Art on Geo Science
Looking to bring some art into the science class? Students get a science term and rather than write a definition, they draw a simple image. You can have each student do multiple words or do different words and share their image with the class. It makes a cute word chart for science vocabulary!
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
11. Science Password
This game idea is similar to the original game of passwords. Students will be given a vocabulary term with a definition, but are not allowed to say specific words. Their partner will guess the word before time runs out.
Learn more: Education
12. Object Sort for Transparent vs Translucent vs Opaque
In science, students learn about words that are related to one another. Using real-world objects can help students have a better understanding of the word. In this t-chart, students have to sort various objects based on opacity.
Learn more: Digital Science Interactive Notebook 2018