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Teaching Root Words through Small Group Games

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 9/11/2012

Vocabulary acquisition can be aided with lessons plans on root words. Games and hands-on activities can help students memorize and learn them. The second game builds upon the first game in this lesson. In addition, there are 15 root words with definitions included to use with the games.

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    Play Game in Pairs

    One strategy to use in a lesson plan for root words is for students to play a memorization game. Students need to play this game in pairs.

    Materials Needed: EMaterials Needed for Root Word Games ach student will need 15 note cards and a different color maker, pen, or colored pencils.

    Steps for Memory Game

    The object of the game is for one student of each pair group to find the most "matches" of root words and definitions. This student who has the most cards at the end will be declared the winner.

    Step 1: Place students into pairs.

    Step 2: Each student needs to take a marker and on one side of the note card he or she needs to write one word from the list included with this lesson. On the other side, he or she needs to write the definition. The student needs to do this for all 15 words. Students can use the 15 words included in this lesson or others chosen by the teacher.

    Step 3: One student needs to have all of the root words facing up and the other student needs to have the definitions facing up. Now the 30 cards need to be mixed up or shuffled, keeping one color with the word and one color with the definition facing up.

    Step 4: Once the cards have been mixed or shuffled, students need to spread out all of the cards on a table.

    Step 5: Students need to find out whose birthday is the latest in the year. The student with the latest birthday will go first.

    Step 6: The students need to match a root word with the definition by picking up two cards and checking the backs for a match. Remind students that they are in one color and the definition is in another. If the student is wrong, he or she needs to place the cards back on the table. If he or she is right, then the student is allowed to go again and keep the cards.

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    Post-it Vocabulary Word Activity

    Once students are familiar with the root words, they can play another game with the same pair of students. This time the pair will play as a team against other pair teams in the classroom. This game will involve students finding words that have the root word in them.

    Materials Needed: Each student will each need around 30 Post-its. Or, each student will need 30 pieces of small paper and tape or a glue stick. Each team will need a large piece of paper, such as news print or a large piece of easel paper. In addition, students should have access to dictionaries.

    Quick Word Find

    The object of this game is for each pair to find at least three words for every root word on the list the quickest. Students should write one word per Post-it or piece of paper and place it in the correct root word column.

    Step 1: Students need to take the large piece of paper and turn it so that it is "landscape" or lengthwise. Next, they need to make 15 columns.

    Step 2: At the top of the column, they need to write one per column. Each group can hang the large easel paper on the wall or place it on a table.

    Step 3: The teacher needs to direct the pair groups to write three real words for each one. The words should be written on the Post-its, one word per Post-it. The team that finds the 45 words first can win a small prize. However, all groups need to find three words per root. Dictionaries should be available for this game.

    These two games will help students to learn these 15 included with this lesson. For an assessment, the teacher can give a quiz with the 15 definitions in a list and have the students write the correct root next to the definition.

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    Root Words and Meanings

    These 15 can be used in both the games for this lesson.

    Root Words & Meanings

    • amphi-two, both, or on both sides
    • arch-cheif, leader, or ruler
    • bio-life
    • cap-take, seize
    • corp-body
    • frater -brother
    • hydro-water
    • ject-throw
    • loc-place
    • miss-send
    • nov-new
    • ped-foot
    • port-carry
    • soph-wise, wisdom, knowledge
    • therm-heat

    Resources/references:

    Root Word Dictionary: http://www.learnthat.org/vocabulary/pages/view/roots.html

    Root Word Games, http://www.funbrain.com/roots/index.html

    Dell, Diane, Ed.S. "Understanding Root Words," http://www.mrsdell.org/rootwords/