Learning games can be another venue to increase students’ vocabulary comprehension.  I have used this learning game with 5th graders and, currently, with seniors in high school.  The benefits of this game are that it’s hands-on, engaging, and everyone is learning.

Here’s how it works:

1) Teacher has a list of the key vocabulary words posted in the room (word wall).

2) Teacher explains the instructions and rules.  Instructions are each student is required to make 2-3 paper airplanes, and then write the definition of their vocabulary word on each airplane.  The class will be divided into 2-4 groups.


3) The aim of the game is to knock out members from other groups by flying their airplane over to that group.  The students that receives the airplane, reads the definition out loud, then answers it.  If the student doesn’t answer it correctly, then the person that flew the plan needs to give the correct answer.  The student that is knocked out has one last chance to fly one of his/her airplanes to another group.

4)  If a student flies their airplane and it comes back to the original group, this is called friendly-fire.  Someone, at the teacher’s choosing, has to answer that question.  If their answer is incorrect, then they are knocked out.

5)  Teacher is ultimate decision-maker.  Students can not argue with the teacher, or they will lose a chance to go.

This is a fun, silly activity, but highly effective in engaging even the hardest to reach students in thinking about vocabulary.


Improving Student Learning through Effective Vocabulary Instruction page