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Vocabulary Words in Context

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 5
Language Standard 6

Time Frame

2 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


brooke rauzon


Students will learn new words through listening, reading and discussion. This is an introductory vocabulary lesson for fifth grade Science standard II (Students will understand that volcanoes, earthquakes, uplift, weathering, and erosion reshape Earth's surface.)


Background for Teachers

Vocabulary List


Landform Article

Earth's surface is in a constant state of change. There are always mountains rising and canyons being carved. Some of these geological changes happen suddenly, such as the movement of the plates of the earth called an earthquake. Tension builds as huge slabs of rock rub against each other below the surface of the earth. Suddenly one of the slabs gives way and moves. This sliding happens along fault lines and can cause ripples in the Earth's surface. A fault is a crack in the crust of the earth.

Tsunamis happen suddenly, too. These giant ocean waves are actually caused by undersea earthquakes and can change the coastlines they strike in a matter of minutes. Landslides and floods also change the surface of the earth in a very sudden way.

Volcanoes occur when super heated rock called magma pushes its way through the earth's crust at its weakest points. Magma reaches the surface of the earth and is then called lava. A sudden eruption can throw lava, ash, gases, cinder and huge hot boulders into the air. When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, the force of the explosion knocked down trees that were 25 kilometers away. Some volcanic eruptions happen slowly. The Hawaiian Islands have been and are being formed by a slow volcanic eruption.

Weathering is a slow process that breaks down rock into smaller pieces. Weathering takes part in the creation of landforms such as arches and buttes. This process slowly breaks down materials and erosion carries the dirt and rocks away. Erosion happens through the strength of wind, water and ice.

Glaciers are slow-moving masses of ice that erode the earth's surface. As the glacier moves along, the ice carries rock and dirt. When the glacial flow slows down, it begins to drop the rocks and dirt. It is much the same as the deposition that happens when water that is carrying sediment slows down. The particles drop from the water and form a new shape for the Earth's terrain. At the same time that all these forces are moving the upper crust of the earth, there are forces pushing up under the crust. Uplift is the slow force that creates mountain ranges.

Student Prior Knowledge

General Science background of landforms.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Talk to students about ways to learn new vocabulary they encounter in their reading. (e.g. context, chunk, look for clues on the page) Read the article about landforms orally to students.
  2. Hand out student copies of article and vocabulary list.
  3. Instruct students to follow the text as you reread the article aloud.
  4. Instruct students to underline or highlight the words from the vocabulary list when they find them in the article.
  5. Ask student to take turns matching vocabulary words to pictures of landforms until the group comes to an agreement.
  6. As a group, lead students to generate a definition for each vocabulary word. Write the definition on the blank word strips.
  7. Compare, as a group, student generated definitions with the definitions found in the materials section of this lesson.


In small group centers have students play a concentration game using landform pictures and word strips.

Assessment Plan

  1. In their Science journal, each student will draw a picture depicting each vocabulary word. They will record a definition and description for each drawing.
  2. Test - match words with definitions.

Created: 08/01/2005
Updated: 02/04/2018