Friday, March 8, 2013

Strategy of the week- Semantic Feature Analysis

Earlier this week, we got through our state testing in reading. Next week is math. With that in the back of my mind, I wanted to give students a fun, hands-on activity to help them review their geometric shapes and vocabulary.

First, I hunted down the one set of solid shape manipulatives at our school, and a set of plane shape manipulatives. Then, I created a semantic feature analysis chart. If you've never used a semantic feature analysis chart, I highly recommend it because it gives students a chance to explore the attributes of a topic or object.

On one side of the chart, I listed several solid and plane shapes that students are familiar with. Across the top of the chart, I listed attributes like "solid shape" or "2-dimensional" or "circular base". Students used the manipulatives to determine the attributes of each shape given and mark the information into their chart. This was a great chance for students to practice their academic vocabulary while refreshing their memories about each shape. It also gives me a very clear picture of where any misconceptions might be.

This semantic feature analysis can be used for a variety of different subject areas and topics. For example, if you are learning about the classes of animals (mammal, amphibian, reptile, etc), then you could list familiar animals down the left side, and have characteristics like "cold blooded" or "gives live birth" or "lays eggs" across the top, and have students use the semantic feature analysis to determine what class the animals belong to.

Next, students used my Elementary Geometry Matching Cards to continue practicing this vocabulary. They took turns asking one another the riddles on the card, and finding the picture of the real-life object that their classmate was describing. Again, it was a great chance for students to practice their academic vocabulary, and get practice speaking and listening. Even better, the matching cards include pictures of real-life objects, so students are able to connect the mathematical shapes they are learning about to real-life items they see everyday.

How are you keeping your students engaged and learning until test time??


  1. I LOVE using Semantic Feature Analysis pages for 2D shapes. They're great for science too. We use them to classify animals as mammals, reptiles, etc. Your page has a nice clean look (I have no idea how you got the diagonal lines typed; I always end up drawing it by hand)!

    1. Amber, I just created mine as a spreadsheet in excel. Super duper easy!

  2. Love the idea of using this format and definitely will keep this in mind!