Test of Acronyms and Abbreviations for 5th Grade

Testing Outside the Box


To have students learn and understand the differences between acronyms and abbreviations, as well as learn how to use them.

Prior Knowledge:

Ask students to make separate lists of acronyms and abbreviations they know. Have them explain the difference. (Acronyms are words formed from the initial parts of a name, for example, COBRA stand for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Abbreviations are a group of letters used to shorten a group of words, such as CBS, which stand for Columbia Broadcasting System. This is actually a form of abbreviation called initialism. There are other forms, such as truncation, which is when you use part of a word followed by a period or full stop as in Nov. or Sat.) Go over the lists with them. Make sure they have their choices in the correct lists.


Give the students a series (6 or 7) of phrases (groups of words). These can be phrases that they have already been taught as acronyms or abbreviations or, you can give them phrases they have never seen before. Have the students create logos for 3 or 4 of the phrases. Once they are done, have they present their logos along with an explanation of why they created an acronym (Remember this must be a word, like MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving.) or decided on an abbreviation.

Explain that most logo incorporate the abbreviation or acronym in a way that helps people to immediately know the name. It would be good to have examples of logos that do this on display in the classroom. For example, the pictures below are known around the world or at least within the country of origin.


301px-NewYorkYankees caplogo.svg

The first is the logo for IBM, which stands for International Business Machines. The second logo is the symbol or logo for the New York Yankees baseball team.


Assess students on their ability to explain clearly their acronym/abbreviations, their creativity, and their overall understanding of the difference between the two.


Some popular acronyms to teach 5th graders include:

  • JAG – Judge Advocate General (lawyers in the US military)
  • Laser – Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
  • MASH – Mobile army surgical hospital
  • NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • Radar – Radio detection and ranging
  • RAM – Random access memory
  • SARS – Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Scuba – self contained underwater breathing apparatus


Some interesting abbreviations to teach 5th graders include:

  • BS – Bachelor of Science
  • BA – Bachelor of Arts
  • GOP – Grand Old Party
  • GMT – Greenwich Mean Time
  • mph – miles per hour
  • PT – Physical Therapy
  • YMCA – Young Men’s Christian Association


The main point of this test of acronyms and abbreviations for 5th grade students is to have fun while enjoying the lessons on acronyms and abbreviations.

Photo Credit: Wikicommons