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Lesson Plan

Blast Off! Vocabulary Instruction Using a Virtual Moon Trip

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Blast Off! Vocabulary Instruction Using a Virtual Moon Trip

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eight 30- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

Denton, Texas

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Tampa, Florida

Denise Haunstetter

Tampa, Florida


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson is designed to help first- and second-grade students learn new vocabulary by taking them on virtual adventures that replicate field trips. Students begin by accessing prior knowledge through an initial writing activity. Ensuing discussions, read-alouds, and the creation of a picture dictionary "take students to the moon," while further building their vocabulary. Students use an online Alphabet Organizer to complete a final writing activity, which they compare to the writing they did during the first session. Although this lesson focuses on the moon, its activities can be used with any content area topic.

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  • Alphabet Organizer: This interactive online tool allows students to create an alphabet chart with one word per letter, more than one word per letter, or to write notes or sentences about the words.

  • Crossword Puzzles: This interactive online tool allows students to create their own crossword using content-specific words from the lesson.

  • My Picture Dictionary: This interactive handout allows students to choose two to five words and write definitions and draw pictures for each word, using vivid descriptions and illustrations as if they were writing from their own experience of going to the moon.

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Blachowicz, C.L.Z., & Obrochta, C. (2005). Vocabulary visits: Virtual field trips for content vocabulary development. The Reading Teacher, 59(3), 262268.

  • Field trips give students the opportunity to experience a concept in an exciting and engaging way. The authors suggest that by capturing the positive characteristics of field trips in the classroom, vocabulary and concept knowledge can be increased.

  • Read-alouds are one way to introduce new concepts and vocabulary to students. Discussions following read-alouds allow students to use new vocabulary and to further investigate new concepts introduced through the read-aloud.

  • The authors advocate the use of a First Write and Final Write as an assessment tool to compare the amount of vocabulary and concepts learned during a unit of study.

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