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8th Grade Vocabulary Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

We've all experienced a moment when we just didn't have the right words, so everyone can benefit from expanding their vocabulary. Help your eighth graders expand their own vocabularies with these ideas for fun classroom games.

8th Grade Vocabulary Games

It doesn't matter if you're in 8th grade, or a fully grown adult, everyone can benefit from improving their vocabulary. It gives you more options in how to express yourself and helps you understand everything from textbooks to novels. While adults can just buy a word-a-day calendar, getting kids to focus on vocabulary isn't always easy. So, why not help them along by playing some vocabulary games? Here are a few ideas for you to try.

One-Upping Vocabulary Contest

This fun game helps students push themselves further than they knew they could go. Have students find a partner, and then give them a basic sentence. Something simple like, 'Fred went to the beach.' One of the students says the sentence aloud. Then the other student tries to make the vocabulary more complicated and specific, with something like, 'Fred headed to the beach.' Their partner might reply, 'Fred walked to the hot beach.' Followed by, 'Fred sauntered to the hot beach.'

Students keep going, making the sentence more complicated and vocabulary-dense each time. The only rule is that the sentence must never get even one character shorter, though it can continually get longer. The game continues until one player gets stuck and is out of ideas.

Word Scramble

The goal of this game is to make as many words as possible from a limited, randomly chosen set of characters. Start by giving students three letters. They must make a word with those letters. Next, have students draw a letter randomly from a bag. The bag could contain letter fridge magnets or small index cards with each letter of the alphabet. Each time they draw a letter, they must create a new word, though that word can be as short or long as they wish. Students receive one point for every letter of every word they form, so it pays to come up with longer words. Have students keep going until either they get stuck or the time runs out.

This game can be played individually or in groups. Students can try to beat their own personal best or compete to see who can get the highest score. To give them an easier time of it, make sure that around 35-45% of the letters in the bag are vowels.

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