February 2010

Learning Science Vocabulary

Almost 20 years ago my family and I immigrated to Israel. Very soon after, I and started pursuing my science teacher certification. I remember how hard it was learning Hebrew. Yet, it was even more challenging to learn specific science vocabulary and to be aware of how everyday life usage of the word differs from its precise definition in a science context. For example, in English the words “velocity” and “speed” are almost synonyms in every day life, yet their definitions are very different in the physics context. So how can I, as a teacher help my students, for many of whom English is NOT their first language, to learn new words and remember their specific definitions and applications. I think I found one possible answer – create a crossword for your students and ask them to fill it out. I used this strategy in various high school and university classes. This is something the students who commute might want to do on their way to class. So how do you create a crossword? Thanks to technology it can be done easily. Just visit ECLIPSE CROSSWORD website and it will guide you through the process. I also think you might ask your students to create their own crossword puzzles and exchange them with each other. This is something that will work for any age – it is fun and many of your students will do it with great interest. Another option might be to create a number of crosswords and do a team competition.

Enjoy your crossword and good luck!

1 Response to Learning Science Vocabulary

  1. Claire Perets

    Dear Marina,

    I recently came across your blog, and it made me wonder if you were aware of our new book, which also addresses the exact difficulty you mention? The book is called ‘English Hebrew by Subject’ and it is a topic dictionary with nouns, verbs and adjectives on every different subject.

    Our team developed the mathematics and science chapters in a lot of detail, to help students in exactly this situation – to find the exact term they are seeking in Hebrew / English. It is a very practical and user-friendly learning and reference book – especially for school or coursework an a particular subject.

    Please visit if you would like to see more information about the book, and download a sample chapter.

    With best wishes,


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