Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Flip-a-Chip: Examining Affixes and Roots to Build Vocabulary

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Flip-a-Chip: Examining Affixes and Roots to Build Vocabulary

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time One or two 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lee Mountain

Houston, Texas


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



The Flip-a-Chip activity turns ordinary poker chips into a teaching tool, showing students how different affixes and roots can be joined to make words and then placed into a context-rich paragraph. Each set of chips contains two word roots and two affixes that can be combined into four different words. For example, the prefixes im- and sup- might be written on the two sides of one poker chip, and the roots pose and press on the other chip. The four possible words (impose, impress, suppose, suppress) are inserted into four blanks in a paragraph according to context clues. After practicing with both real and "virtual" chips (in the Flip-a-Chip online interactive), students work in pairs to create their own set of chips and corresponding paragraph. They exchange their packets to see whether the context clues are strong enough to enable classmates to fill in the blanks correctly.

back to top



Flip-a-Chip: This interactive allows students the opportunity to fill in the blanks of a story with words created through a virtual flip of the chip.

back to top



Mountain, L. (2002). Flip-a-Chip to build vocabulary. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46, 6268.

  • Familiarity with high-frequency affixes and roots promotes comprehension of numerous words in which they occur as meaningful chunks.

  • Effective vocabulary instruction requires active and positive student participation, and personal engagement with a new word can lead to deep processing of the meaning.

back to top