Scientific Vocabulary

How to increase your Scientific Vocabulary

by Aarti Thomas

Various strategies that help students quickly connect to new words are used to increase science vocabulary. Using rote memorization and recall of vocabulary provides only short term gains in improving scientific vocabulary. A multi-dimensional approach is a better approach, using the help of hands-on and minds-on experiences.

Graphic organizers

Graphic organizers help students learn science words using different contexts. The concept definition map is created by placing the science word in the center of a science concept graphic so that the student understands the word using their previous knowledge.

In case of vocabulary concept cards, a science word is written on a side of an index card. The card is divided into four parts where the left quadrant contains words describing what the word is and isn’t in the students’ own words.

The right hand quadrants have examples of the word using drawings or words and definitions that teacher or the textbook provides. Other graphic organizers that can be used are KWLs, Concept, Mind or Word Maps or Venn Diagrams.

Teaching strategies

A science nature journal, science newsletter project and writing in science also help improve a student’s science vocabulary. Students have to write stories using science words for a better understanding of the words’ scientific concepts.

Differentiated instruction

As a classroom has students of varied learning abilities, teachers have to practice differentiated instruction to improve the kids’ science vocabulary. Teachers can divide the science vocabulary list into three sections; the first with all the words all students should know, the second with enrichment words for extra challenge to gifted and talented students and the third, the essential words struggling students have to learn to remain on grade level.

Students should also learn to create their own list comprising of essential words the students should know and enrichment words the student gets to choose from a list. This is best for classes with several gifted students, looking for challenges.

Alternative assessments can also be used where students have to draw pictures, give word descriptions or explain definitions based on individual abilities. Teachers then use a simple rubric to determine the students’ mastery level of each word.

To Science Vocabulary

To Chemistry Vocabulary

To Geography Vocabulary

From Scientific Vocabulary to Vocabulary Flashcards

From Scientific Vocabulary to How to teach English in Japan (home)