Learning new terms and definitions is critical in senior science and it sometimes feels like a whole new language to students. Here are some tools and strategies for teaching and learning new vocabulary, especially in science subjects.
One of my favourite digital tools for learning new terms and definitions is “Quizlet”. “Quizlet” has a database of user created definitions for terms and allows users to choose from these or create their own. Once you have created a list of terms and definitions around a specific topic, you can use these in several different ways – flashcards, matching games, cloze sentences or true and false questions.
Use this digital word wall to collate a bulletin board of terms and definitions. Each student may be responsible for looking up two to five words and their meanings and post them to the “Padlet” (formerly Wallwisher) wall.
3. Word Clouds
Create a word cloud using “Wordle” or “Tagxedo”, with the list of required terms. Use the colourful image created to discuss new terms and definitions. Ask students to choose several terms to look up to create a glossary.
4. Biology-Online dictionary
The “Biology-Online Dictionary” allows students to look up biology terms and definitions using a search window.
5. IPad apps
There are several Biology dictionaries available including “Biology Dictionary” (free) and “Biology Glossary” (0.99c). “iCardSort” is an app where you can label cards and then mix and match terms and definitions.
Jefferson Lab’s “Science Vocabulary Hangman” allows students to choose from a range of topics and play Hangman against the computer.
What tools and strategies have you used to successfully teach and learn new terms and definitions?