Making Connections

Drawing connections is a helpful {definitionbot=disable}way for students to classify and interact with information. In this lesson plan students work in pairs or small teams to generate a list of glossary words on a topic, then group the terms into helpful categories.

Materials Needed
Extension Activities
Relevant Curriculum Standards


This lesson plan suggests one way to help students interact with new material by listing which vocabulary words they already know on a topic chosen from this website and sorting those words into related groups. Then students may add new words and material as they learn it into the groups of words they already know.

Estimated class time:
1 class period for the initial lesson, plus one optional class period at the end of the unit


Students will:

  • Summarize what information they already know.
  • Work off this information to develop a framework into which they can fit new information as they learn it.


  • Blackboard, dry erase board, or large sheets of paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Paper for each small group or pair to write on


  1. Introduce the topic from the website that the students will be studying.
  2. Brainstorm on the board with the whole group all the words associated with the topic that the students can think of.
  3. Have students in pairs or small teams place the words into groups based on something the words have in common (several groupings are usually possible, and some words may fit into more than one group).
  4. Once all the student pairs or teams have finished, ask them to share their word groupings and reasoning behind their decisions.
  5. Have students in the same pairs or small teams choose labels for each group of words, share, and discuss why they chose the labels they did.
  6. Introduce important words related to the topic that students did not come up with themselves. As the class reads about and studies the topics in EcoHealth and encounters terms, ask students to add them to their groupings and create new word groupings if necessary.


  • List of categorized words produced by each small group with reasoning behind each grouping.
  • Participation.


  • Have students try to regroup their words in a different way, challenging them to find new and different pathways for connecting words--and concepts.
  • To stimulate other ways of thinking about the information (and multi-sensory learning), have students think of a nonlinguistic way (such as an image, action, or sound) of representing each group.


This lesson correlates to the following: Standards for the English Language Arts of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Standards for the English Language Arts, K-12, from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)

  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Get the Lingo | Making Connections | What D'Ya Know?

Additional information