Teaching Vocabulary in Social Studies and Science Part 3

Do your students like games? Are they willing to learn without realizing they are learning because it feels like a game? I know my classes (especially the morning class) will do anything if it is a game. Vocabulary acquisition can be approached like a game and make learning that much easier!


As I mentioned in Part 2, matching games are always a good way for students to practice and learn new vocabulary. Having a larger matching game that can be used for Go – Fish, Concentration, or a timed matching sort makes learning these new words all the more fun!


The internet is also filled with websites that help teachers turn vocabulary into fun games. Quizlet, Vocabulary and Spelling City, and Flocabulary are just a few of them, but my students personal favorite is Quizlet (my study sets are already in quizlet and can be accessed through my vocabulary packets found in my TPT store!). Students can choose a game or study style and interact with their vocabulary and definitions in a fun and game like way!


A new favorite game which keeps all students focused on the game is a Vocab Race.

  • Students are put into teams and each given a number on the team.
  • Each team has a small basket or bucket with all of the vocabulary words in them at the end of the “race track” (a good 15 – 20 feet away from where the teams are is perfect).
  • The teacher reads the definition out loud to the class. The students determine with their team what the vocabulary word is and waits for the teacher to call a student number.
  • When the teacher calls a number, all of the students with that number race down to their basket/bucket and find the vocab word to bring back to the teacher.

Because the students do not know which number will be called, they all need to know what the correct vocabulary word is!

This is a simple and fun way to review vocabulary and allow students to work together when gaining new words in their personal dictionaries.


What kind of vocabulary games do you play?

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