Earth Science Lesson – Vocabulary Book


Standard Indicators

            ES 1.23         Explain motions, transformations, and locations of materials in the Earth’s lithosphere and interior. For example, describe the movement of the plates that make up the crust of the Earth and the resulting formation of earthquakes, volcanoes, trenches, and mountains.

Title   -      Vocabulary A Fifth Grader Can Understand

Purpose - Students will be able to describe, explain and illustrate terminology associated with Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Continental Drift and Mountain Building.


·        colored sheets of construction paper

·        plain white (or off white) drawing paper

·        colored pencils

·        colored markers

·        Earth Science textbook and other reference materials

·        access to Internet (use

·        rulers

·        scissors

·        scanner, computer and color printer


A. Pre-Activity

1.       Students select one of the following themes:

·        Plate Tectonics

·        Volcanoes

·        Earthquakes

·        Continental Drift

·        Mountain Building

2.      Students identify 20 vocabulary terms associated with their selected theme.

B. Activity – Individual Students

1.       Students are to create a vocabulary book using the terms associated with their selected theme.

2.      Students complete a rough draft before receiving drawing paper

3.      Rules for the Thematic Vocabulary Book

·        definitions must be easily understood by the average fifth grader

·        textbook/dictionary definitions ARE NOT to be used

·        each word MUST be illustrated

·        the correct pronunciation will be included

·        words are to located alphabetically in the book

·        colored construction paper will be used to create a cover for the vocabulary book

·        the cover must include the theme selected, an illustration and the authors name

Classroom Assessment: Basic Concepts and Processes

(C)  Why did you select the definitions that used?

(P)  Has this helped you better understand the definitions?

(C)  How did you decide which words to use?

(P)  What other words could have been included in your book? Why?

Call Outs

·        Connecting across the Curriculum:

ü      English – creating a vocabulary book;

ü      Art students will personally illustrate their words

·        Incorporating Technology –

ü      using scanner/computer/printer to use illustrations from reference materials;

ü      capturing an illustration from a website,

ü      saving it to disk and printing it up for use in their book;

ü      students can create their book as a power point presentation

·        Meeting Individual Needs (for special needs, gifted and talented, etc):

ü      Advance students  - add another dimension, have students include a physical motion that would illustrate an action that is taking place as defined by the vocabulary term.

ü      Provide students with the lists of words associated with the specific themes. Identify themes as Earthquake I, Earthquake II, etc. Each list of words could represent a different level of difficulty within each theme.

Standards Links

            ES 1.24         Understand and discuss continental drift, sea-floor spreading, and plate tectonics. Include evidence that supports the movement of the plates, such as magnetic stripes on the ocean floor, fossil evidence on separate continents, and the continuity of geological features.

            ES 2.6     Describe that early in the 20th century the German scientist, Alfred Wegener, reintroduced the idea of moving continents, adding such evidence as the underwater shapes of the continents, the similarity of life forms and land forms in corresponding parts of Africa and South America, and the increasing separation of Greenland and Europe. Also know that very few contemporary scientists adopted his theory because Wegener was unable to propose a plausible mechanism for motion.

            ES 2.7     Explain that the theory of plate tectonics was finally accepted by the scientific community in the 1960’s when further evidence had accumulated in support of it. Understand that the theory was seen to provide an explanation for a diverse array of seemingly unrelated phenomena, and there was a scientifically sound physical explanation of how such movement could occur.

Black Line Master