Document Type

Teaching and Learning Strategies


Vocabulary--Study and teaching; Science--Methodology--Study and teaching; Student teachers--Training of;


Descriptive vocabulary is needed for communication and mental processing of science observations. Elementary preservice teachers in a science methods class at a mid-sized public college in central New York State increased their descriptive vocabularies through a course assignment of making a descriptive adjective object box. This teaching material consists of a set of theme-related objects with corresponding cards housed in a box. The front of each card lists four descriptive adjectives that describe physical observations of one of the objects, with an image of the object on the reverse for self-checking. The student reads these descriptive words and attempts to locate the one object to which they all refer. Preservice teachers (N = 67; 8M, 59F; 3H, 2B, 1A, 61W) took identical pretests/posttests in which they wrote descriptive adjectives for four objects. During the intervention, they explored example boxes with activities and worked in pairs to create their own sets of materials. Participants increased words generated from 17.8 to 25.7 for the four objects. The grade level of words produced also increased from 2.9 to 3.8. Both increases were statistically significant with a very large effect size (1.84) for words generated and a medium effect size (0.35) for increase in grade level of vocabulary.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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