Lesson plan

Word Wizards

Help your students become word wizards! In this creative and engaging lesson, students will review roots, prefixes, and suffixes before creating their own words and definitions.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

Students will be able to determine the meaning of words using roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

(5 minutes)
  • Show “Prefixes, Suffixes, & Roots” Rap (link in resources).
  • Explain: "Today we are going to become word wizards! We will use what we know about prefixes, suffixes, and root words to build our own words."
(10 minutes)
  • Review the meaning of root (a basic word or linguistic unit with no suffix or prefix added), prefix (the initial portion of a term or object), and suffix (can be added after a root word and can change the grammar function/part of speech or tense of a whole word).
  • Explain that words are made up of parts. Each part of a word has meaning, and when combined, a new word is made.
  • Write OCTAGON on the board.
  • Tell students that OCT- means eight and -GON means angled, so when we combine these two root words, we have a word that means "eight angled."
  • Write OCTA+GON : "eight angled."
  • On chart paper, make three separate circles labeled PREFIX, SUFFIX, and ROOT.
  • Write OCT and GON in the circle labeled ROOT.
  • Ask students to think of other root words and call on volunteers to share. Write the student-generated root words in the circle. Scatter the list of roots in the circle as you would with a "brain dump."
  • Prompt students if needed by giving examples of words and asking what the root(s) are (e.g. biology, telescope, bicycle, transport).
  • Repeat for each of the other circles, starting with an example for each (e.g. PRE- prequel (prefix) and -IST bicyclist (suffix)) Generate about 4-5 word parts per circle.
  • Keep the chart paper displayed through the remainder of the lesson.
(15 minutes)
  • Hand out the word ladder worksheet.
  • Tell students that they will use prefixes, suffixes, and roots to change the word ERUPT into other words. Each step of the word ladder will have only one word part (prefix, suffix, or root) that changes from the word before it.
  • Remind them to look at the word bank on the worksheet to choose word parts to complete the word ladder.
  • Review the word ladder worksheet as a class.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain: "We practiced building words with a word ladder, but now it’s your turn to be a word wizard and get creative! You are going to use what you know about word parts to build your own made up words and definitions."
  • Hand out three index cards to each student.
  • Explain that their made-up words must contain three word parts (e.g. prefix+root+suffix / root+root+suffix / prefix+root+root).
  • Hand out the word part table.
  • Tell students to use the word parts they know and/or word parts from the table to create their own words.
  • Explain that each word part should be on a separate index card and they should write the meaning of the word part on the back of the card (e.g. TRANS- (across) + PHON- (sound) + -ABLE (able to) = transphonable).
  • Remind students that they also need to come up with a definition for their word based on the meaning of the word parts they used (e.g. transphonable: sound that is able to move across a distance).
  • Allow students to use whatever tools are available (word part table, dictionaries, anchor charts) to build their words.
  • Give students about 5-8 minutes to create their word.
  • Hand out a fourth index card to each student. Instruct them to write their word and definition on the fourth card.
  • Have students share their words and definitions with the class.
  • Optional: After the lesson, display the made-up words by hanging the index cards on a dowel or stick so that the word is visible on one side and the meaning of the word parts are visible on the reverse.


  • For students who need more scaffolding, allow them to work with a partner to complete their word ladder.
  • Have students choose all three word parts from the word part table to create their made up word.


  • For an extra challenge, have students create longer words with more than three word parts.
(5 minutes)
  • Use observations from guided and independent practise to identify students who will need additional support.
  • Collect and check finished word ladder worksheet to check for understanding.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students meet in a small group and use the word parts on their index cards to mix and match their collective word parts and create even more new words. (Note: remind students to write their name on their own index cards before beginning this activity.)
  • Hand out a sheet of paper to each group and have them record the words they come up with and the definitions for each word.
  • Call on each group to share a word or two they came up with.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection