Economic Vocabulary - Robin LeRosen` Website

Application Activity 2
Robin LeRosen
University of Virginia
EDIS 5500 Linguistics
Christine Hardigree
February 28, 2014
Application Activity #2, 1
This lesson is designed to build the mental lexicon of students for Economics
concepts. In Virginia, the concept of types of resources in the Economics strand is first
introduce in the Grade 2 History and Social Science Standards of Learning:
2.7 The student will describe natural resources (water, soil, wood, and coal), human
resources (people at work), and capital resources (machines, tools, and buildings).
This lesson will focus just on natural and human resources, and capital resource
would be the focus of further lessons. Capital Resources are key to the understanding of
resource types, but I think introducing all three resources types at once is unnecessarily
taxing on the students’ growing lexicons.
This lesson could be used for second grade and higher. The concept of human and
natural resources is fundamental for Economic concepts in the higher grades, so it could be
used for any Elementary or Middle School level students that needed a stronger mental
lexicon for resources. It could be adapted for higher grades to study renewable and
nonrenewable resources. This is designed to meet the needs of ELL students, through
connection to the L1 and through repeated visual cues. However, this would be an effective
lesson for all students.
The lesson starts with building the mental lexicon around known words and concepts,
human and nature, through meronymy, and then leads students to the concept of natural
resources and human resources and building a semantic web of these resources based on
Step 1: Brainstorming words related to HUMAN and NATURE
The teacher will place 2 large chart papers in the room with HUMAN and NATURE
written on them. Each chart will have an accompanying picture to cue ELL students to the
meaning of the word. Students will brainstorm related words and write them, or draw pictures
Application Activity #2, 2
on the chart paper. Bilingual dictionaries for each students’ home language would be
accessible near the charts to students can look up the words, and write the words for
HUMAN and NATURE in their L1 on the charts.
This is an open-ended activity to generate prior knowledge. This would best be done
prior to Steps 2 -8. Perhaps during a morning routine when students are unpacking, a few at a
time could go to the charts and add words or pictures. Or this could be done as part of a
center during literacy stations.
Step 2: Build Understanding of HUMANS and NATURE by Meronymy
Using the student-generated brainstorming charts as a starting point, the teacher will
then guide the students through creating a semantic map of HUMAN based on the part-towhole relationship of the meronym. Human is the whole; the parts of the body are the parts.
The teacher would say, “What are the parts that make up a human body?” As students
volunteer words, and words are taken from the anchor charts, the following semantic map
would be created:
Application Activity #2, 3
As each word is added, the teacher should point to the body part on her own body,
and have the students point to it on their body. She can then add a quick sketch or drawing as
she writes it on the board. The word for HUMAN in the students’ L1’s should also be added
to the chart.
The same process would then be followed for NATURE. The word HUMAN would
be done first because it is more concrete and real to the students. NATURE is more of an
abstract concept, and all of the items listed may not be as familiar to students as body parts
(such as forests and lakes). The term meronymy would not be used with students, but the
teacher would say, “What are parts of nature?”
During centers or other time in the day, the teacher would have a few students add illustration
to these charts. Step 3 would be continued later in the day, or the following day.
Step 3: Define RESOURCE
After reviewing the semantic map for NATURE and HUMAN, the teacher will
introduce the word RESOURCE and provide a definition and a few examples in context. The
Application Activity #2, 4
teacher should also include a photograph for each item, or draw a picture to match. The
underlined words in these sentences should be accompanied with a picture cue.
A tool or item that is used to help do something or to help make
The books in our library are a resource to help us learn and read.
The books help us to learn.
The doctor is a resource to go to for medicine when you are sick.
The doctor helps us to feel better.
The carpenter uses wood to make the table.
The wood is a resource for making furniture.
Step 4: Connect the terms HUMANS, NATURE and RESOURCES. Build understanding of
Natural Resource & Human Resource by Hyponomy
The teacher would then have a large chart paper (or 2 chart papers connecting) with
underneath. This semantic web is based on hyponomy. Natural Resources are a type of
Resources. Sun, water, soil and plans are all types of natural resources.
For NATURAL RESOURCES, add the brief definition: things that we use from
nature. Ask students “What do we use from nature? How?” An example can be water, and
the teacher explains that we use water for cooking and drinking.
For HUMAN RESOURCES, write the brief definition: People at work. Say,
“Humans do work with their bodies.” Relate this back to the first Human chart paper, and
give an example, saying “Farmers use their hands to plant and harvest crops. The crops, or
Application Activity #2, 5
plants such as corn or apples, are natural resources.” The add farmers to the Natural
Resources map and apple trees and corn plants to natural resources.” Include a wide variety
of human resources, to represent the different body parts that are used by human resources
(scientist uses their brain and hands, soccer player uses their feet). The teacher can have the
students kinesthetically involved in his vocabulary building by miming or acting out with
their bodies a human resource using a natural resource (such as a farmer planting seeds).
Step 5: Adding Visual Cues
Students will add visual cues to semantic maps for Natural Resource and Human
Resource. Students may use magazines to find and cut out pictures to match natural and
human resources, or create their own illustrations. Visual cues and examples will help to add
words and concepts to their mental lexicon, and therefore increase the priming process when
they are activating words and knowledge.
Step 6: Vocabulary building for Human Resources and Natural Resources
Students will work in pairs to create a vocabulary Four Square for Human Resources
or Natural Resources. Each pair will then join up with another pair who has the other type of
Human Resources:
People at work
Natural Resources:
things that we use
from nature
Application Activity #2, 6
resource to share. (i.e. Maria and Paul, who created a Four Square for Natural Resources, will
then pair up with Tammy and Michel who did Human Resources).
The Four Square Template will look like this:
Word: ____Human Resource_________________________
Word in Another Language:
Definition in your owns words:
Examples with Pictures:
Use in a Sentence:
Being able to use a word in context in a sentence is key to semantic understanding. It
is important for this work to be collaborative, so that ELL students can hear how their peers
would use these new words in a sentence.
The terms NATURAL, HUMAN and RESOURCE are collocates. Likely at the
beginning of this lesson, students may not have made these connections before. As this
vocabulary is learned and practiced through adding to the mental lexicon, these collocates
will prime in the students’ brains.
Mental lexicons grow over time. These semantic maps are just an introduction to
concepts that will be continually taught and reviewed. Therefore, they should be kept
accessible and visible in the classroom, so that students can add to them as they learn more
about resources.