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Greek and Latin Roots - Introduction

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 6
Language Standard 4 b.

Time Frame

6 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication


brooke rauzon


This is an introductory unit on Greek and Latin roots. There are three lists with accompanying learning tasks.


Each student will need:

  • A copy of the list of roots that is being taught (this unit uses three lists: A, B, and C)
  • A copy of the practice assignment for the list that is being taught (there are three practice assignments, one for each list)
  • A set of the Greek and Latin Roots Matching Cards with roots and their meanings. There is one set each of the three lists (A, B, and C). Small groups can share these sets.

Background for Teachers

The English language has been influenced by many different languages. Many of the words we use today come from Greek and Latin.

Before beginning this unit, explore websites that have Greek & Latin roots to become familiar with how the meanings of roots have influenced our languages.

Share some of these findings with your students to demonstrate how words relate to their roots.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students in the sixth grade should have a basic knowledge of prefixes and suffixes. Many of these have their origins in Greek and Latin.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will become familiar with how Greek and Latin roots contribute to the meanings of words. This unit helps students to understand how words relate to their words.

Instructional Procedures

Week One:
Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Give each group a copy of the matching cards for List A. (See attachment - Greek and Latin Roots Matching Cards) Instruct students to do their best to match each root with its meaning. Encourage students to think of words that contain a particular root and then try to connect the meaning of the word to what the root might mean.

As students are working on this learning task, walk around the room, occasionally pointing out to students which roots they have correctly identified. This helps narrow down the ones they are still trying to match.

After students have had time to complete the activity, invite groups to share which roots they are confident that they have matched correctly. Provide encouragement and feedback as this discussion continues. Students can correct their own cards, thus allowing the students to learn from each other.

When all groups have the correct meaning by each root, have students share words that they used as they completed matching their cards. As a class, brainstorm other words that relate to their roots.

Distribute the practice assignment and List A (see attachments). Provide instruction as necessary to help students get started. Students can complete this assignment either individually or in small groups.

Weeks Two and Three
Follow the same procedure as week one, using List B and List C.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students who would benefit from an additional challenge can make their own matching set of roots and their meanings. This would require individual research. They could share their cards with a small group or with the class.

Struggling students can be strategically placed in groups so they can be encouraged, but not intimidated.


For an artistic connection, students can make "word trees." In large letters, write the root at the base of the tree, and on the branches, write as many words as possible that come from that root.

Created: 07/24/2012
Updated: 02/05/2018