5 Fun Ways to Spice Up Science Vocab Review

Looking for fun ways to review science vocabulary?

Even if you aren’t in a testing grade, it’s still important to make sure your students remember concepts and vocabulary later in the year.  I’m working on that now that I am no longer in a testing grade for science.  I know the students will need to know those terms next year for STAAR.  And I’m nice enough to try to make it easier on their 5th grade science teacher.  😉

Whole Class Match Me
Give each student an index card and assign them either a science vocab word or a definition (this saves you some work!).  Then, have students walk around to find the person with the card that matches theirs.  Then, have students switch up their cards and find the person that matches their new card.  Continue until you have completed the activity 8-10 times (or until you are tired of it).

“Crossword” Puzzles
So, it’s not technically a crossword.  I love crosswords and I love my NYT crossword app.  Anyway, I think it’s called a criss-cross.  The one below is for earth science.  You can click the pic to download it for free from GoogleDocs.  It even has an answer key!  Whoa baby!

If you’re nice to me, I may create more of these puzzles and give to you.  So be nice!
Vocab in a Flash
Got 3 minutes to spare?  Do Vocab in a Flash!  When I taught more than one class of science, I made this a competition between the classes, but you could do other things to make the game more cutthroat.
I had a stack of 20ish cards with vocabulary words on them.  I would describe the word on the card and the students would have to say the word.  Then, I’d move onto the next one until I got through the stack. I timed them to see how long it took to go through all of them then wrote the time on the board.  I talked super duper fast and if ANYONE said ANYTHING before I finished describing the word, I would describe the next word reeeeeaaaalllllyyyyy slooooowwwwwlllyyyyy.  Needless to say, someone only called out on occasion that way.
~You can switch out  the words and add more, but still bring up those words from the beginning of the year.  I think it’s important to describe the words differently each time so they aren’t just memorizing the words you say.

Students can make Bingo cards using vocabulary words, then you read off definitions and they mark the space on their card. {Shameless Plug Alert!} I actually have pre-made cards for Bingo (physical, earth, life, or a bundle).  They each come with 24 different cards, vocabulary cards to read off, and markers.

Click the pic to check them out!

Draw a Term
Assign each student a vocabulary term (on a post-it or index card).  Give them 5 minutes to illustrate the  term without using any words.  Then, you can show the pictures and see if the class can guess the word, have students show their groups the picture and see if the group can guess it, or have students walk around the room and see how many people can guess their term just by looking at the picture.


  1. I love, love, love all of these ideas. I am constantly struggling with this. We play “Back Words” (where the students have the words taped on their backs and they have to ask yes or no questions to figure out which vocab word they have) and we play Jeopardy A LOT. I think they’re getting tired of both of these. I am definitely adopting all of these! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)


  2. We play a taboo style vocab game. .. they have to try to make others guess their word without using the 3 forbidden words on the card.

  3. We play a taboo style vocab game. .. they have to try to make others guess their word without using the 3 forbidden words on the card.

  4. I have done all this in the past but what I am seeing is that they know the definitions…that is not the problem. Any child can tell you a hypothesis is an educated guess. What they can’t tell me is what that means!! It means nothing to them. We talk about making connections and making it real for them but we still play games that match the word with the definition. What we are doing this year is working with the word, using the word, not just learning definitions. We will see if this is what is needed. We seem to go all hands on with some of the experiments. We found some articles for kids that we hope will bring it all together. Looking for a balance and make it real for kids that don’t experience the world.

  5. I’m just wondering what program you use to create your criss-cross puzzles. I have some ideas for some vocabulary specific for teks in Math. I plan on personally using them as one of my stations during small group instruction. I really appreciate any details you can divulge.

    • Ariane Huddleston says:

      Adriana– I made that puzzle about 3 years ago and have no idea how I did it! Sorry.


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