The First Lighthouse

article by Penny Garnsworthy , photo by Alamy

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify the meanings of words with Greek origins.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify vocabulary that features root words with Greek origins
  • I can discuss possible meanings for the root words based on the context
  • I can write a summary of the meaning I have identified

Display the following list of root words with origins in Ancient Greece (at this stage don’t inform students what the root words mean):

  • ologi
  • arch
  • circa
  • photo
  • graph

Select the first root word from the list (ologi) and scan the article for words that it features in (‘pharologist ’, ‘archaeological’ ‘archaeologist’, ‘Egyptologists’, ‘archaeological’).

Discuss the following questions:

  • Can you think of other words that include this root? (e.g. sociologist, psychologist)
  • Read the sentence in the article that the word appears in. What do you think is the meaning of the word? (i.e. the sentence is, ‘And why do we call people who study lighthouses pharologists?’ as the sentence has the word ‘study’ in it I assume ‘pharologists’ study something)
  • What might be the meaning of the root word? (i.e. based on the context, it might mean ‘to study’)

Inform students that dictionary entries that define vocabulary often also include the Etymology for the word (its origin). View an example, such as that for the word nap on the Merriam Webster online dictionary.

Collaboratively compose a dictionary entry for the first root word based on responses to the discussion questions. For example:

‘ology’ (from the ancient Greek) meaning to study

Refer students to Worksheet 1. Draw students attention to how the responses for the first word have been recorded in the table on the worksheet. Place students in pairs and instruct them to work through the remaining words from the list on their worksheet, recording their responses in the table on Worksheet 1 before composing diary entries that feature the Etymology for the word.

Share responses before checking students interpretations against the real meanings using the article, Boost Your English Vocabulary With These 50 Greek and Latin Root Words, from