Vulcan's Vocabulary

Goal: To provide definitions of words related to geologic and volcanic processes, as background for lessons to follow.

Objectives: Students will


  1. Complete vocabulary worksheets using Glossary of Volcanic and Geologic Terms and other resources;
  2. Collaboratively prepare for a Vocabulary quiz;
  3. Learn some useful mnemonic devices using The Magic of Metaphor.

Summary: Students are assigned to groups, and each member is assigned some of the words on the handout, Vulcan's Vocabulary Worksheet, to look up and prepare definitions for. Each student then teaches, using helpful mnemonic devices, his/her list of words to the rest of the group. Students study cooperatively for a vocabulary quiz over the handout list.

Content Areas: Science, language arts, study skills

Materials Needed:


Instructional Sequence: 

  1. Conduct whole-class discussion of memory and mnemonics. The Magic of Metaphor, page 4, "Memory Aids " provides a guide to using metaphor and simile as mnemonic devices. Provide further examples, illustrations, memory aids suggested by you and by students. Depending upon student readiness, you may wish to precede this lesson with a practice exercise using more familiar words, and/or study memory and recall/retrieval skills in depth.


  2. Assign students to heterogeneous groups of 5-7 members each. Provide copies of Vulcan's Vocabulary. Instruct groups to assign approximately equal shares of the list to all members.


  3. During class time or as homework, have each student prepare a definition for each assigned word, following these guidelines:


    • a. Find a definition for the term in resources provided.
    • b. Look up any words in the definition that are unfamiliar to you.
    • c. Rewrite the definition using your own words.
    • d. Include in your definition at least one of the memory aids discussed in class, or your own tip for remembering it.


  4. Return students to groups, where they will take turns providing definitions and suggesting ways for remembering them.


  5. When teammates have finished teaching each other, set up review groups or tournament teams per Cooperative Learning, Instructional Strategies folder.


  6. In this case, it is recommended that students receive a grade for group, rather than individual, performance on the quiz to follow this review activity. This will help teammates take responsibility for making sure that no member is unprepared for the quiz -- "No one is ready until we're all ready!"




    1. Older students in a geology classroom or major unit may be assigned advanced vocabulary work using worksheet form of Glossary of Volcanic and Geologic Terms.