Friday, August 9, 2013

Vocabulary Match Game

I've used this game twice in my field experience classroom and both times I was worked fairly well.  I made a few changes the second time [and still may continue to make more] but still plan on using this game in the future.  Both times I have used this game with my students I called it something different.  The first time it was Triangluar Vocabulary Memory and the second time it was just Line and Angle Vocabulary.  In the future I think I am just going to call it the Vocabulary Math Game or Vocab Matching. [Any ideas?] This way it's less work when I go to great worksheets and playing cards.  I also feel like my students will know that the same will involve new vocabulary words each time it is played.

I doubt I'm the first person to every come up with this "game" but this was my thought process:
I currently work with students in an Alternative School program.  I work with a range of students from Freshman to Senior year.  Some students are behind one grade level, some more than that.  My main propose when working with these students to help prepare them for the EOC (I don't have them every day so I am only give certain areas to focus on).  In order to teach any unit to these students I always had to start with the vocabulary to ensure all student knew the words and the correct definitions.  We (the other students I co-teach with and myself) were struggling to do this in a way to keep all students involved.  No matter what we did we always seemed to lose a group of students.  Sometime the more advanced students, sometimes the least advanced students...either way we need a change and I thought of this solution. 

This "game" is played just like the childhood game of memory with a few minor changes.  Instead of trying to match a pair of pictures the object is to match a card that has a vocabulary word and it's definition to a card that has a picture representing the word.  Students play in pairs (or groups of three) taking turns flipping over two cards at a time in search of a match.

Vocabulary Match Game - Line and Angle Edition
This picture shows a match (R2C2 & R1C4).
Once students find a match everybody in that pair (or group) fills in the worksheet with the definition. 

Worksheet that goes with Vocabulary Match Game
This picture shows a complete student worksheet.
(Sorry I couldn't fgure out how to turn it, it kept uploading sideways)

They way that I designed the "game" and worksheet is so that the pictures don't appear on the playing cards with the word.  So students don't just match words for words and not even take notice to the picture or definition.   But, the pictures show up with the words on the worksheet.  This way if the students need help to figure out what a picture is, they have somewhere to look, but they still are being forced to look at the picture.  I also wanted the worksheet as a way to force them the have to write down the definition to only further help the students save the information in their brains. 

Below is a picture of both sets of my cards.  I printed them on color paper (of different colors) because it easier to handout and store all together this way. I don't recommend printing on white or yellow, I only did it once, because they are see through and the students were just looking through the paper to find what they were looking for instead of actually playing the game.  I also tried to fill up the back of the cards to help insure students couldn't just look through the paper.

Here are my two PDF files for both versions I have. I believe the Triangle one has a typo on it, but couldn't find my original to make the changes. So when I find the original I will update and post.
Line and Angle Vocabulary
Triangular Vocabulary

As always leave a comment with any thoughts or questions and and feed back if you use this (or something similar) in your classroom.


  1. I just now found your blog ( a year later) and I love all of the ideas that you are doing in your classroom. Could you please share more? I am in the process of making my own math blog and I will post when I have shared my ideas as well :)

  2. Your blog is awesome! I ran it across while looking for math vocabulary ideas. My focus this year is math literacy. I used your card matching idea and made something similar. For each term, there are four cards: term, definition, image, geometric description describing the image. Other activities I've used include Kahoot, Quizlet, and I have,Who Has. My kids begged me to nix Bingo - with valid concerns. I'd be glad to share!

  3. Love this! Another thing kids could do is "Draw What I Say" where students pair up and one student is the "artist" and one student is the "Client" who reads a vocabulary word or phrase that the artist has to draw. (A correct answer is supplied on the "Client" card so the students can self-check. I got this idea from Cooperative Learning and Geometry High School Activities by Becky Bride from Kagan Publishing. They don't call the student roles "Artist" and "Client" that's just something I came up with to give it a little spark! LOL