Studying science is not only about learning the identified concepts, it is also about learning to use the related terminology in your studies. As a classroom teacher, you can help your students accomplish this goal by creating a science word wall. In this article, we will explore how a 5th grade science word wall can be easily incorporated into your classroom routine to not only extend the learning, but to help students excel in their study of the science curriculum being offered.
How Can a Science Word Wall Help?
Having a science word wall will help students enhance their vocabulary and improve their comprehension of both the materials they
read and the concepts they learn. This is especially true of words related to scientific inquiry which appear frequently, regardless of the topic being studied. This would include, but is not limited to, words like:
How Do I Select Words to Include?
The words you choose to include on your word wall should be selected directly from your school district’s science curriculum and the resources you intend to use to support the teaching of that curriculum. At the beginning of each unit or thematic study, identify the key concepts you will be covering. Within those key concepts, select words which are an integral part of the learning. The idea is not to cover each and every related word. That would be too overwhelming. Instead, a word wall is used to help students learn words they may not already know, or words which are frequently used when discussing a particular topic or theme.
Below are possible words to consider for inclusion when developing your science word wall during the year. While the lists offered are in no way meant to be all-encompassing, they can certainly be considered examples of words related to 5th grade studies.
Earth and Space
- Carbon dioxide
- Circulatory system
- Digestive system
- Excretory system
- Respiratory system
A printable version of the above list may be found here.
How is it Incorporated into Our Daily Routine?
Besides activities and lessons intended to introduce and teach the pronunciation, spelling and meaning of the individual words, the word wall should be a part of the science classroom’s day-to-day learning.
Depending on the amount of room available for your science word wall, you may also wish to consider including corresponding pictures or images next to the words. For example, studying the human body systems might dictate that you introduce the word “circulatory.” Next to the word, you could include a small image depicting the heart, blood or vessels. This will help your students make real-world connections by serving as a reminder of just what the circulatory system encompasses.
Once introduced and added to the 5th grade science word wall, students should be held responsible for using and spelling the words correctly - both on tests and written assignments. After all, the words are readily displayed. Students should be encouraged to use the word wall as a frequent resource when writing and speaking.
While the best resource is your own district’s curriculum standards, the National Science Education Standards may be used as a cross-reference. These may be found by visiting the website of The National Academies Press.
Another great resource for science word wall words is the website vocabularya-z.com. While the words offered there are not listed according to grade level, the site may be used for generating your own list of words related specifically to the curriculum you teach.
Do you have further suggestions for using a science word wall in the 5th grade classroom? If so, be sure to visit the comments section below!
- Vocabulary A-Z, http://www.vocabularya-z.com/
- Image Credit, Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kissyface/2849750475/sizes/o/in/photostream/
- Physical Science Vocabulary, http://www.ppsisoft.com/pdf%5CVOCABPHYSICALSCIENCE.pdf
- Fossweb, http://www.fossweb.com/
- The National Academies Press, http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4962
- Stanford Solar Center, http://solar-center.stanford.edu/standards/