Egg-citing Roots

Spring break is just around the corner for me....which signals crunch time for The TEST.  I have been trying to get the kids to engage in their learning, yet teach them the skills they will need to navigate their way through The TEST.

One of the skills the kids need to know is how to discover the meaning of words based on their Greek or Latin roots.  For example, a question may ask them to give the meaning of "telephone".  Not one of the four choices will say, "far away sound", but that is the literal translation of the roots we have been studying.  I needed to find a way to bridge the literal translations and the actual meanings (which, using telephone, does have something to do with far away sounds, but not in that exact way).  It is so tricky, but my fellow bloggers have inspired me! 

Laura Candler posted the other day about how she uses Easter eggs to have the students review skills.  (check out her post here)  Well, my daughter needed eggs for her preschool party, and I just happened to have some laying around...and I decided to use them!

Teaching in Room 6  5th Grade
I made 7 baskets (which would split my class of 30 into teams of 4 or 5).  Inside the baskets, when 10 eggs.  On each half of the egg, I wrote one root we have learned.   You can see that inside the baskets the eggs are all split open.

Now is where the fun began.  The students were given the task of creating 10 new words.  Each of them reached into the basket and pulled out two egg halves.  They tried to mix up the colors, but otherwise, weren't allowed to look at the root before they choose.  This then left them with some fun new words.

Once they made an "egg-citing" new word out of two roots, the students used the recording sheet to list the two roots, write the new word created, and write the exact translation of those two roots put together.  This is when the real thinking happened.

Teaching in Room 6  5th Grade
At the bottom of the recording sheet was a place for a "Possible Definition".  The kids thought about the two roots and a definition of what that word could mean if it was real.  For example, this student created "multigram", literally translated to "many write".  Well, if that word was actually in circulation, maybe it would be used for a machine that could write many things.  Or it could be when you send out many emails all at one time, "I just sent the multigram so maybe someone will respond."

Once the possible definition was decided upon by that student, it was cut off the bottom of the recording sheet, folded up, and put inside of the egg.  The student then either reached back into the bag and got two new halves OR they picked up an egg that was already put together and created their own recording sheet and possible definition.
Teaching in Room 6  5th Grade

Teaching in Room 6  5th GradeSoon, all 10 eggs were created, and all 10 eggs had the 4 possible definitions inside of them from each of the group members.  When this happened, the students then broke open the eggs.  They laid all 4 of the possible definitions out on the table and decided, as a group, which one of them would be the most likely definition for that new word.

They wrote the finalized definition on their "Definition" section of the recording sheet.

And that is that!  The kids really got into this.  They were able to see how the roots helped them to create meaning but didn't actually *become* the meaning (if that makes sense).  They also really liked the gamey aspect of it, yet were working together to create these words.  This took all of 45 minutes to do, but the kids had a really great, productive, learning time!

How do you incorporate root word studies into your class?

And just in case you were looking for something else to do with roots, here is the TpT link to the game I created with root words that my kids LOVE! (and here is the blog post explaining it)


  1. SOLD!!! LOL, I put it in my cart. This will be perfect for next year. Your are so amazing! I get excited every time I get an email of your new posts. I know it's going to be good before I even open it. Thanks!


  2. I love this activity!!! A perfect Spring word work activity. Super creative!
    I don't teach word work because my L.A. colleague covers it, but this is def. a keeper!

    You're so creative! You're kids are lucky to have you as a teacher!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  3. These technically aren't root words. They are prefixes and suffixes. Root words are the words these affixes attach to, such as rewrite. The root word is write, and the prefix is re. Otherwise it is a fun activity though.

    1. Most of the examples shown, do show roots. There are affixes in there (because they are important for the test) but all of them are Greek and Latin.

  4. Hi! Is there a link to where I can purchase the materials for this activity? I would love to do this with my class! Thanks for sharing :)


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