Etymology Teacher Resources

English words can typically be traced back to their culture of origin—which, given the variety of words in the English language, can be anywhere in the world!

Focus on etymology early with an elementary lesson that uses word clues to explore word origin. An etymology project prompts middle schoolers to explore where selected words came from and how they arrived in the modern English language, while a high school curriculum guide focuses on dictionary and thesaurus skills, Greek and Latin roots, and domain-specific language.

Doubt the language of origin? Try out a video that investigates that rogue b in the word doubt, emphasizing that sound is never as important as a word’s history when determining its spelling. Delve more deeply into the mysteries of modern vernacular with another video, which discusses how many odd or irregular words in the English language don’t rely on English spelling or pronunciation patterns at all.

A strong knowledge of etymology can help with students’ spelling, vocabulary, and word usage. And at Lesson Planet, we’ve got a strong selection of etymological resources waiting for you!

Showing 25 - 48 of 149 resources
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Root Words from Greek and Roman Gods' Names

For Teachers 7th - 12th
Prepare a stack of index cards with a Greek or Roman god's name on one side and their description on the other. Then, use the worksheet attached to brainstorm as many words that contain the root from each card. Pupils also create their...
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Areas of Science: What's My Job?

For Students 5th - 10th
Vocabulary is just as important in the science classroom as the English classroom. Young etmologists learn about various careers available in the area of science as they use their knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to uncover the meaning...
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Internet Adventures

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Young scholars explore where words come from. Every word had a beginning--- a birth. They use the internet and go to a web site given by the teacher to take a quiz on word origins, students are allowed to use dictionaries.
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Language Change: The Origins of Names

For Teachers 9th - 12th
In small groups or pairs, learners explore the origins of each others' names. An awesome idea, but you'll need to do the initial research to gather your class's names and their origins. Or, consider having each member of your class...
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Dragonwings: Evaluate Chapters 10-12

For Teachers 6th - 8th
As your class finishes the novel Dragonwings, use these culminating projects. A vocabulary list is given for chapters eleven and twelve and either an epitaph or letter activity concludes the book. The final project consists of creating a...
4:28
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The Story of 'True'

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
The history of the English language is a long and winding road, forsooth. Here’s a short video that traces the truth about the history of the world true, from its Old English origins to modern usages. Consider generating a list of words...
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Using Word Maps to Expand Vocabulary

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Looking for a good lesson plan on dictionary and word definition skills? The lesson plan presented here is for you! In it, learners utilize a worksheet, embedded in the plan, to record a word's definition(s), etymology, multiple...
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Romanticism in Western Literature

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Wow! Instead of jumping into a list of characteristics that Romantic literature typically abides by, this presentation starts by discussing the etymology and evolution of the word romance. After five slides of history, the viewers start...
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Speak Vocabulary Strategy

For Teachers 7th - 9th
A scarlet letter “V” stands for a desktop teaching vocabulary activity designed for Speak. Prior to reading Laurie Hales Anderson’s young adult novel, individuals sign up for a word, design a handout that illustrates the word, includes...
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Etymology

For Teachers 3rd - 6th
Students tie together planet names with Greek mythology. Students browse thru a dictionary to see where exactly these names came from and what significance they have. Students explore the origins of some English words.
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Language Change Exercise 2: Names Related to John

For Teachers 8th - 12th
Choose any name to use the idea behind this lesson plan! The example is John, but I like that the original author looked to his or her classroom makeup to select a name to study. There's a bulleted list of discussion topics to use after...
1:55
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Mysteries of Vernacular: Yankee

For Students 7th - 12th Standards
An American? Someone from New England? Anyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon line? A New York baseball player? A dandy? A short video doodles around with the etymology of all an American word and how its meaning has evolved from 1601...
3:45
Lesson Planet

Prokaryotic Vs. Eukaryotic Cells

For Students 9th - 12th
Viewers learn about prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in the third installment of a five-part video series. The video covers the similarities and differences between these two types of cells, including a brief etymological aside on how...
Lesson Planet

Vocabulary (Part 1) – Structural Analysis

For Students 9th - 12th Standards
Understanding the words in a sentence is an important step in understanding what the sentence says. Learn about word parts, including prefixes, suffixes, base words, and word etymologies, with a series of language lessons sure to...
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Emotions Color Wheel

For Students Pre-K - 12th
Support emotional development with a color wheel featuring a variety of feelings. Each expression comes equipped with an informative pop-up offering a picture, its etymology, a definition, and an example statement. 
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The Sun Also Rises: Vocabulary

For Teachers 10th - 12th
After researching the etymology of a word from the provided The Sun Also Rises vocabulary list, kids employ the desk top strategy and teach their word to other class members.
1:59
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Mysteries of Vernacular: X-Ray

For Students 7th - 12th
What is they mystery behind the name of the x-ray? Find out in a brief informational video that tracks the etymology back to Descartes. Class members can watch the video and then interact with the additional resources. Flip the lesson to...
Lesson Planet

Unlocking Word Meanings

For Teachers 4th
Fourth graders investigate eponyms in the English language. In this eponym instructional activity, 4th graders participate in a teacher led instructional activity on the definition of an eponym. They complete a worksheet in which they...
Lesson Planet

Diversity of Languages

For Teachers 7th - 11th
Students interpret graphs and statistics to recognise and understand the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australia. They create a profile of the linguistic diversity of the class or school. Students discuss Australia's cultural...
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Etymology1 Word Search Puzzle

For Students 11th - 12th
In this word search learning exercise, students locate 30 words given in the word box. Students find the words in a puzzle consisting of 15 rows and 35 columns.
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Persuasive Text: Vocabulary Charades

For Teachers 6th - 9th
Students play charades to act out vocabulary words that have recently been introduced in class.  In this vocabulary lesson students may work in groups or in pairs.
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Word Families

For Teachers 1st - 2nd
This phonics PowerPoint presents sets of word families featuring /a/ and /o/. Each of the words is accompanied by a picture. Students practice sounding out each of the words.
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Pudd'nhead Wilson: Vocabulary Strategy

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Invite your pupils to do the teaching when it comes to the vocabulary in Pudd'nhead Wilson. Each individual is assigned one word to research in depth and teach to classmates, one pupil at a time.
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Eng 312: Final Exam

For Teachers Higher Ed
When paired with other powerpoints by Don L.F. Nilsen, this final exam covers topics addressed throughout previous lectures (slide 14 specifies which lectures should be reviewed). Teachers could use this presentation to craft their own...

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