Vocabulary Tree

The Vocabulary Tree is a graphic organizational strategy that is very useful in mathematics and note-taking.  It is one of my favorite strategies for building vocabulary, and through the use of the Vocabulary Tree, students make connections and identify relationships between vocabulary words in the lesson.  The Vocabulary Tree is made up of a trunk, roots, branches, and leaves.  The trunk holds the main concept or key term, and the branches include related terms, ideas, or examples.  The leaves of the tree are used for the definitions of the terms or ideas listed in the branches.  Finally, the roots of the tree are reserved for the definition or Latin root of the key term.  Students may complete a Vocabulary Tree individually, in pairs, in small groups, or even as a whole class.  The Vocabulary Tree strategy is extremely helpful for students to see vocabulary terms and how they relate to other terms or concepts in the text.  Students are able to expand on the single idea or term and create visual connections that will help them see how the many concepts or vocabulary words in a text are related.

In the math classroom, this strategy can be applied during lessons on polygons and solids.  These two topics are closely related, and the mathematical connections in solids are similar to those in polygons.  Therefore, after using this strategy to understand polygons, students should be able to connect that two-dimensional idea to the three-dimensional solids.  The procedure, worksheet, and example for this strategy can be found here:

Vocabulary Tree Strategy Plan

Vocabulary Tree Outline Worksheet

Vocabulary Tree Example

For more, see Subjects Matter by Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman

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