Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vocabulary is Important

Students must learn the vocabulary, formulas, and symbols in each of their courses.

A test question may read, "State the domain and range of the function f(x)=2x-3." If you don't know the meaning of the words "domain," "range," and "function," or what the symbol "f(x)" means, you're not going to know how to work the problem.

If the directions ask you to compare and contrast igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, you must know the definitions of those three terms. However, you must also know that compare means to tell how they're alike and contrast means to tell how they're different.

A question asking "What are three common uses of NaCl?" will make no sense to you if you don't know that Na is Sodium, Cl is Chlorine, and together they make salt. Once you know this is salt, it's easy to come up with three uses, probably more. (What if the question was "What are three common uses of halite?" Would you know that it is the same question?)

If asked to describe a planarian, would you say that it's A) a person from another planet, B) a carpenter whose specialty is using a plane, C) a flatworm, D) a community or city planner, E) a person who studies planets, or F) a building where images of the sky are projected onto a domed ceiling? (Correct answer is "C.")

If a recipe in cooking class asks you to "chiffonade," it has nothing to do with cake or fabric or square dancing.

It soon becomes obvious why vocabulary, formulas, and symbols are so important in everything you do. Students should review vocabulary everyday, paying particular attention to new words they've encountered.

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