Greek and Latin Roots: Root Extension Exercise

For this exercise, I am using the Unit 1 Lesson 1 Greek and Latin Roots Vocabulary/Spelling roots. However, this exercise can be adapted using other roots.


  1. to help students learn the meanings of this lessons roots
  2. to reinforce understanding that roots are segments of meaning that can be combined with other words and roots to make a variety of words.
  3. to learn one additional root and its meaning.


  1. word lists (see sample). Use the dictionary to collect words for potential use in lists.
  2. dictionaries or access to online dictionaries
  3. pencil/pen and paper.


  1.  Tell the whole class they are going to be doing an exercise to help them learn the meanings of this unit’s roots.
  2. Explain that the class will be divided into groups. Each group will be given a list consisting of roots from the unit along with their definitions, and several words that use these roots. Each group is to look up and write a definition of each word on the list. The students must define each word using vocabulary and language that students at least two levels below themselves could understand. After defining each word, the students are to identify the additional root/word that all the words in their list had in common and hypothesize a definition for it based on the information they have already collected. They are not to look up the meaning of this common root/word. When they are done, they must be prepared to share their conclusions with the class. Explain what information you will expect them to share (see below) and tell them you will post the criteria on the board while they are working.
  3. Divide the class into groups. You will need at least one group for each list. Ideally, groups should range from 2-4 students. It’s okay to have groups working on identical lists if necessary as long as each of the roots of this unit are represented on at least one list.
  4.  Group work time. Allow the students about ten to fifteen minutes to work. As the students begin working, post the instructions for what they are to do and what they are to report on the board.


Call the class back to order and instruct the students to listen as each group:

  1.  1. Reads to the class the roots and words from their list.
  2. 2. Reads to the class the definition of each word on their list.
  3. 3. Identifies the additional root/word from their list and their hypothesis regarding its meaning.
  4. 4. Explains how they reached their conclusion. (“We looked it up,” is not a valid answer.)


Because this is an exercise designed to facilitate learning, score it with a participation score. Do not mark down for right or wrong answers. Score only for participation and good faith effort.