Before beginning radicals with my Algebra 1 students, I had my students complete a Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart. I created a book type foldable with three of these (identical) charts for my students to glue in their interactive notebooks. This was my first idea to try out from Styles and Strategies for Teaching High School Mathematics.
I chose the thirteen most important vocabulary words to know for our unit on radicals. For each vocabulary term, students had to circle 1, 2, 3, or 4. 1 stands for “I’ve never heard of the term.” 2 means “I’ve seen or heard of this term before.” An answer of 3 represents “I think I know this term.” And, 4 means “I know the term and can explain it.”
I had students fill out this vocabulary knowledge survey for the first time before I taught anything related to radicals. Students circled the numbers that reflected their current level of understanding. Some of my students were a little frustrated with this activity because they didn’t know what any of these words meant. I explained that this was okay because we hadn’t started the unit yet. Students then added up all of the circled numbers to arrive at their “Vocabulary Knowledge Rating.”
I did have a lot of false 4 ratings on the term “index.” They were surprised to find out that I wasn’t referring to the back of a non-fiction book. One class also had an interesting debate over whether the index was the same as the table of contents.
Several days into the unit, we repeated this activity. It was exciting to see students realize how much their Vocabulary Knowledge Rating had increased over just a few days. Instead of mainly circling 1s and 2s, students were know circling 3s and even some 4s. This was a big confidence booster for my students. Also, students were curious about when we would get to the few terms we had not yet covered in our unit.
I ran out of time, and I never did have my students complete the last survey. But, I’m glad I did this activity. It boosted my students’ confidence, and it inspired a lot of great questions. I definitely want to occasionally incorporate this into my classroom again next year. I don’t know if it something that would be beneficial to do for every unit though.
Free Download of Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart
More Activities for Teaching Radicals
- Prime Numbers Chart
- Radicals Task: Which is the Smallest?
- Like Radicals Card Sort Activity
- Parts of a Radical Poster
- Prime Factorization Foldable
- Prime Factorization Graphic Organizer
- Prime Numbers Below 100 Chart
- Simplifying Radicals Puzzle
- Rationalizing the Denominator Practice Book
- Operations with Radicals Question Stack Activity
- Conjugates INB Page
- The Constant Chair Regression Activity
- Prime and Composite Numbers Chart
- Multiplying Radicals Graphic Organizer
- Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Chart
- Parts of a Radical Graphic Organizer
- Radical Clock Makeover
- Dice Activity for Reviewing Square Roots