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Lesson Plans
Building Vocabulary: Prefixes
3rd–5th Grade
Objectives Objectives
  • Students will identify and define prefixes.
  • Students will use their understanding of prefixes to correctly decode words and identify their meanings.
Materials Materials Needed
Introduction Introduction

Print and cut apart the Prefix Title Cards. Hold up the cards one at a time for students to read. Tell students the meaning of each prefix:
    bi– = two
    im– = not
    un– = not
    mis– = wrong
    pre– = before
    re– = again
Explain that knowing the meaning of the prefix can help them determine the meanings of words that have the prefix.



  1. Place the title cards in the top row of a pocket chart or tape them across the top of a whiteboard.
  2. Using a separate index card for each word, write down two words for each prefix. For example: binoculars, bilingual, immature, impossible, unfair, untrue, misplace, misjudge, predict, prepay, recount, and replace. (Ask older students to help you think of words.)
  3. Invite one volunteer at a time to take a word card and place it beneath the corresponding prefix card. As students sort the cards, be sure to reinforce the meaning of each prefix and word. (For example: “Re– means again, so the word recount means to count again.”) Provide a sample sentence so students understand how the word is used. (“Mary wasn’t sure she had given the customer the correct change, so she decided to recount it.”)
  4. Lead students in a guessing game using the words on the chart. Explain that you will think of a word and they can ask “yes” or “no” questions in order to discover the word. For example, a student might ask, “Does the word have a prefix that means before?”) With each question, students will be able to eliminate options and demonstrate their knowledge of word meanings at the same time. Challenge students to try to guess the word in five attempts or less!
  5. After playing the game a few times, invite a volunteer to choose a word and answer the other students’ questions. (Variation: Extend the activity by pairing students together and challenging them to play the game with their partners.)

Independent Practice

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a copy of the prefix die template and root–word die template. Have students cut out and assemble the dice using glue or tape.
  2. Provide each student with a copy of the Word Meanings Game Mat and a sheet of paper.
  3. Tell students to read each definition on the game mat.
  4. Have students roll both dice at once. If they can use the prefix and root word they roll to build the word for one of the definitions on the mat, tell students to write down the word and its definition on the sheet of paper.
  5. Challenge students to roll the dice until they have created all eight words for the definitions on their mats!
  6. Have students check their work by comparing their answers to a partner’s answers.

Answers: 1. two wheels: bicycle 2. to play again: replay 3. to heat before: preheat 4. not the same in value: unequal 5. not patient: impatient 6. to heat again: reheat 7. to put through a cycle again: recycle 8. to give wrong information: misinform

the 3rd–5th Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)




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