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Science Vocabulary game

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 4
Language Standard 6

Time Frame

10 class periods of 15 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Karen Bosone
Julie Lee
brooke rauzon


Using a memory game with Science vocabulary words, students will increase their understanding and retention of vocabulary words.


  1. As many 3X5 index cards as you have vocabulary words and definitions. Write the word on one card and the definition on the other card.
  2. A key of the correct matches.

Background for Teachers

Teach students how to use Word Bank prior to this lesson. Word Bank notebooks can be used as a resource for students to check words they are uncertain about.

Teach the Science lesson vocabulary words previous to using the memory game.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students need to be taught the instructions for playing the game, and need to know the vocabulary words and their definitions.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students have a solid understanding of the Science vocabulary words.

Instructional Procedures

This can be set up as a center activity.


  1. There should be at least three in a group but no more than five.
  2. Choose someone to be in charge of verifying that the definitions match with the words (the Key Holder).
  3. All the cards are shuffled and placed face down.
  1. At each turn a student turns two cards face up and reads them.
  2. If the cards are a match, the student takes the cards. The Key Holder will verify correctness.
  3. If there are not a match, they are turned back over and left in the same place.
  4. Play continues in turn until the cards run out. The winner is the one who holds the most cards.
  5. The winner becomes the Key Holder, and the game can be played again.

The student could add the words that they missed to their word bank.

Here is an example from Fourth Grade Science Standard V:

  • Adaptation: Body part or behavior to survive in a habitat.
  • Amphibian: An animal that lives near water and as an adult has lungs.
  • Coniferous: Trees and shrubs have cones and needle-like leaves which stay green all year.
  • Deciduous: Trees and shrubs drop their leaves before the cold or dry season.
  • Desert: An area of land that receives less than 10 inches of rainfall a year.
  • Fish: A scaly animal that lives in the water.
  • Forest: A large area of land that is covered with trees.
  • Hibernation: An inactive sleep-like state during the winter.
  • Insect: Small, six-legged animal with three body parts, wings and antennae.
  • Invertebrate: An animal without a backbone.
  • Mammal: Animals with fur or hair that give birth to live babies.
  • Migration: Travel to a place that is warmer to find food.
  • Reptile: An animal that lays eggs on land and has scales.
  • Vertebrate: An animal with a backbone.
  • Wetland: Land that is wet.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Pictures could be added to the word card.


This can be used for any vocabulary lesson that you want to extend.

Assessment Plan

The Science Unit test. Personal word banks.

Created: 08/01/2005
Updated: 08/24/2022