Morphemes are the smallest piece of a word that has meaning. These pieces include affixes and prefixes and roots of words from different languages such as Greek and Latin. This lesson focused on Greek and Latin roots of geometric shapes. We hoped to show how vocabulary is greatly influenced by linguistics, and specifically morphology, and how knowledge of these different morphemes can increase vocabulary acquisition. By teaching the students how to break up the different polygons we introduced, we wanted them to have a greater understanding of how words could be pieced together and broken up. This is why we had them draw different creatures using pieces or morphemes of different words and rearranging them to create something different.
Cut out shapes
1. Ask students to look for familiar shapes around the classroom.
2. Introduce names of geometric shapes (triangle=trigon, quadrilateral=tetragon, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, and decagon).
3. Ask students where else they have seen the Greek and Latin roots of the geometric shapes. (tri, quad, penta, hexa, hepta/septa, octa, deca), and add examples of your own.
4. Introduce definitions of polygon and the types of polygons.
5. Introduce the concept of a morpheme. (Words made up of smaller pieces of meaning, ex. Re/peat, re/tell, re/live, re/mind) or in this case tri/angle, tetra/gon, penta/gon, hepta/gon etc.
6. Review shapes to show student's cognitive knowledge.
7. Introduce different roots so that students can create different creatures with the morpheme of the geometric shapes. Things that students should include in their drawing are the name of the creature, and it should match the picture. This will demonstrate their understanding of morphemes.
8. Our example of a creature with different morphemes including the Greek root tri is triceratops, a three horned face creature. Other roots that we gave them were saurus (lizard), capt (head), man (hand), ped (foot), etc. For the man morpheme, students were confused because they thought man meant man, not hand. You can add more morphemes for a wider selection.
Ask for students to share some of the creatures they draw, and what they are called.