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Introduce Vocabulary: Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story (Peters)

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: After listening to a fiction read-aloud, students will know the meaning of three Tier Two vocabulary words.

Materials: Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story (Peters), board or chart paper

What to Do


Select three Tier Two vocabulary words to teach your students. A list of suggested words appears below. Write the vocabulary words on the board or on chart paper.


1. Introduce the story.

Today we are going to read a story entitled Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story.

2. Introduce the three vocabulary words you have chosen.

Before we read the story, I want to introduce some new words that we will come across. Please repeat each word after I say it.

3. Read the story.

Let’s read the story. Make sure to listen for today’s vocabulary words and to think about how they are used in the story. If you hear a vocabulary word while I am reading, raise your hand.

4. Define key vocabulary words. See definitions below.

Let’s think about our vocabulary words. The word ______________ means ____________. Does anyone remember how this word was used in the text?

Call on students to answer the question. Then refer to the text to show how the word was used in context. Repeat this process for each vocabulary word.


Now let’s practice what we’ve learned.


Continents means the seven large pieces of land on the earth. What’s the word?

I have traveled to six continents. Did you know that Asia is the largest continent?

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing is found on one of the seven large pieces of land on earth, say continent. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Ocean
  • Trees
  • Homes
  • Buffalo
  • Moon


Generation means a group of people that are born around the same time and have similar ages. What’s the word?

The generation born after WWII is called the baby boom generation. The children in your class are all in the same generation, while your grandparents are in a different generation.

I’m going to name some pairs of people. If you think the people are about the same age, say generation. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • You and your classmates
  • Your mom and dad
  • The president of the U.S. and your best friend
  • Your grandma and you
  • A baby and the principal


Oxygen means the gas in the air that we must breathe to stay alive. What’s the word?

The air on earth is made up of 21% oxygen. If you keep a toad in a plastic box, he’ll run out of oxygen and die.

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing needs to breathe to live, say oxygen. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Sharks
  • Kangaroos
  • Rocks
  • Mountains
  • Iguanas


Shrank means got smaller. What’s the word?

My wool sweater shrank because it was thrown in a hot dryer. The amount of water in your cup shrank when you spilled it.

I’m going to name some words. If you think the word means got smaller, say shrank. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Grew
  • Leapt up
  • Inflated
  • Decreased
  • Lessened


Upright means standing straight up. What’s the word?

People walk upright on two feet, but most mammals use four feet. When your mom asks you to get out of bed, she wants to see you upright, not lying down.

I’m going to name some animals. If you think the animal moves standing up, say upright. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Humans
  • Toads
  • Chimpanzees
  • Cats
  • Zebras


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples for the vocabulary words.

For Struggling Students:

If time permits, have students record the words on a Vocabulary Discovery Chart or in a Word Journal.

For ELL Students:

In order to help ELL students learn the words, it may be helpful to use realia and/or to teach cognates.

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