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!

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EngageNY

Grade 9 ELA Module 1: Unit 3, Lesson 11

For Teachers 9th Standards
The study of Romeo and Juliet continues as pairs use the provided summary tool worksheet to record evidence of how Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to heighten the tension in Juliet's soliloquy in act 3, scene 2, lines 1–31. 
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EngageNY

Grade 9 ELA Module 4, Unit 1, Lesson 4

For Teachers 9th Standards
Class members continue their examination of how writers develop and support their ideas by comparing two different texts about globalization. Alongside chapters from Sugar Changed the World, young scholars read an article provided by the...
Lesson Planet

Math Prefixes

For Teachers 5th - 8th
Students use a dictionary to gather appropriate information for writing simple definitions. They recognize prefixes that relate to numbers, such as mono-, bi-, and tri-. Pupils use their creative abilities to extrapolate new words to...
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Confounding Words

For Teachers 11th
Eleventh graders gain understanding of how words in the English language are formed. They assess their own work for sentence clarity and variety of expression. They increase their comprehension and recall.
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Heraldry and Biography

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Help learners discover more about their backgrounds. This family history activity includes links to sites about heraldry and family names. Begin by sharing your family history with the class and then allow high schoolers to do some...
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Concept Attainment Lesson: Metaphors

For Teachers 6th
Discuss literary devices and the use of critical-thinking skills to analyze and identify elements of poetry. Learners read and analyze the poem "Time" by Valerie Bloom in order to explore different literary devices, such as similes. This...
2:17
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Mysteries of Vernacular: Dynamite

For Students 7th - 12th
Start class off with a bang! Check out this video, part of a series on word development, which tracks the meaning of the word dynamite back to the inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel. After perfecting his invention, Nobel created the word...
1:58
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Mysteries of Vernacular: Window

For Students 7th - 12th
The word window has origins in metaphor and Old Norse. Teach your class about how words develop and about kennings, or metaphoric compounds, with the video and provided additional materials. The video is nicely animated and clearly...
2:01
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Mysteries of Vernacular: Keister

For Students 7th - 12th
A brief history of kiester, the video leads viewers through the development of the word, starting with kista, Proto-Indo-European for a woven container. The animated video follows kista through its developments and shifts in meaning. Fun...
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"Indian Camp": Empathy, Ethics, Ethnicity

For Teachers 9th - 12th Standards
Class members have an opportunity to develop empathy as they assume the identity of one of the characters in Ernest Hemingway's short story, "Indian Camp." They write about one event in the story from the point of view and in the voice...
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Greek And Latin Root Words

For Teachers 8th
Students examine Greek and Latin root words. They research the history of the English language, solve word games and puzzles, write paragraphs about the impact of Greek and Latin on the English language, and create flip chart study guides.
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The Renaissance Person: composing an Extended Definition Essay

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Students recognize the characteristics of an extended definition.  In this Renaissance person lesson, students read a collection of short stories.  Students research the definitions of Renaissance and Renaissance person.  Students write...
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Laurence Yep's, Dragonwings

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students discuss vocabulary words and compare definitions. They read chapters 6-9 of the novel, Dragonwings, and discuss point of view, and complete a plot diagram. Then they review the four types of conflict and identify the conflicts...
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Changing of the Guard

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Learners reflect on their knowledge of democracy. After reading an article, they examine current plans for the placement of a democracy in Iraq. In groups, they research past regime changes and democratization attempts and discuss the...
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Laurence Yep's Dragonwings

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students read independently the novel, "Dragonwings," by Laurence Yep and make connections between a text and the world. They summarize, paraphrase, analyze and evaluate skimming and scanning techniques when reading a novel. Each student...
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Explore Chapters 1 - 5

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students preview the novel, "Dragonwings," by Laurence Yep, make connections between the novel previewed and their prior knowledge, other texts, and the world. They utilize graphic representations including charts, graphs, pictures, and...
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Teaching and Learning Through Objects

For Teachers 4th - 8th
Students identify and interpret the function, usefulness or utitlity, form, beauty or aesthetics, and meaning, context or story, of objects and how they learn new skills and make things that they learn traditionally, by observation and...
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Dewey's in the Library

For Teachers 4th - 5th
In this language arts worksheet, students become familiar with the Dewey Decimal System of library book organization. Students study and read the information, then answer 8 questions.
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Evaluate Chapters 6-9

For Teachers 5th - 7th
Students evaluate various literary elements from the book <i>Dragonwings</i>.  In this literature study lesson, students complete various activities including a plot diagram, a conflict list, and connecting the climax of the...
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Reading Comprehension: Context Clues

For Teachers 5th
Fifth graders use context clues to help them understand unknown words. In this context clues lesson, 5th graders practice identifying context clues on a worksheet, then work with a peer to write their own story. Stories are peer edited...
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A Way with Words or Say What?

For Teachers 5th - 8th
Students examine Shakespearean language. In this word study lesson, students investigate the meaning of words that Shakespeare invented. Students draw and pantomime with the words prior to writing short stories that feature Shakespeare's...
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Thermoelectricity

For Teachers 9th - 12th
Young scholars conduct a series of experiments on thermoelectricity. In this physics lesson, students investigate how thermocouple works. They determine the voltage generated when different conductive materials are held at different...
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Work and Power

For Teachers 9th - 12th
High schoolers determine their horsepower when walking up and down the stairs. For this physics lesson, students calculate work and power. They differentiate the two concepts.
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Dictionary Skills-What's the Meaning of This!

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Students create and print mini-dictionaries using word-processing software, clip art objects, graphics downloaded from the World Wide Web, and/or illustrations they create themselves.

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Etymology