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Vocabulary Activities for CTE Classes

November 4th, 2019 | 3 min. read

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Understanding vocabulary is key to understanding the concept. This is especially true in CTE courses when students are often introduced to brand new terms and are exposed to the new vocabulary in multiple contexts. However, there is a difference between rote memorization and meaningful learning. Rote memorization is learning information based on repetition, while meaningful learning occurs when all the concepts of a topic or lesson are understood together as a whole. While rote memorization can be achieved faster, meaningful learning leads to higher levels of retention and greater understanding. To learn more about the differences between rote memorization and meaningful learning, read this article.

However, it can be difficult to find ways to achieve meaningful learning of vocabulary terms and definitions. Instead of relying on vocabulary quizzes or flashcards, try these strategies to help students learn vocabulary words in fun and unique ways.

Vocabulary Teacher Resource


Spelling Bee With a Twist

Give students the definition of the word, but not the word itself. Students must correctly identify the vocabulary word and spell it. Get students invested by making it a competition to see who can get the most right!



Using a vocabulary list, create Taboo-style cards with the vocabulary word and several similar words or important definition words that students will NOT be able to say. In small groups, students will try to get their groupmates to guess the right vocabulary word without saying the word itself or any of the taboo words.



A quick and easy review with zero prep time. One student creates an illustration of the term and the rest of the class must guess the term. The student drawing may not write down words or use any sounds to give hints.


Four Corner Vocabulary

Instruct students to draw a box. In each corner students should do one of the following: write the vocabulary word, define the vocabulary word, use the term in a sentence, and illustrate the word in some way.


We hope you find ways to implement these vocabulary activities in your classes.

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