You may know the song “All My Exes Live in Texas”, but do you know about the EXes of science vocabulary?
The EXes are three parts that I include during any science unit: experience, exercise, and extend. Students experience the vocabulary in a hands-on activity, then apply new terms to what they just did. Then, they exercise their brains by providing more examples or making generalizations. Finally, they extend their learning in an activity that requires deep understanding and making connections.
Allow students to experience the concept before applying new vocabulary terms. For example, allow them to explore how light behaves when it hits aluminum foil and a convex lens. Then, apply the new vocabulary of “reflection” and “refraction”. Experience >
Students exercise their brains through deeper experiences and reflection. For example, students suggest more examples of materials that reflect or refract light. They make generalizations such as light must pass through an object in order to refract light.
Extend your students’ learning through activities that require them to stretch their thinking. Acrostics, concept maps, and word drawings are three excellent methods to encourage students to go deeper and show their understanding in a new way. Students make connections and show relationships among a variety of vocabulary terms for a unit.