English Language Learning: The Language of Science
Learning science can be like learning a second language- or in the case of ELLs, a third or fourth language, on top of learning English. The specialized vocabulary required to engage with scientific concepts on a complex level can be daunting in its scope and volume. However, many scientific words are built from prefixes and suffixes, an understanding of which would help a student infer the meaning of unfamiliar new words. To give my students knowledge of these word parts and experience using them, I provided them with a list of common scientific prefixes and suffixes. They then practiced predicting the meanings of unknown words and building their own fake words using the list of roots. Whenever I introduced new vocabulary words that could be broken down into smaller parts, I would question the students on what the prefixes and suffixes meant and how they could use them to guess the meaning of the word.
Download the list of prefixes and suffixes: Scientific prefixes and suffixes.doc