What's in a Name?
- Grade level: Middle School
- Subject Area: Language Arts, Foreign Language
In this lesson, students use Internet and library resources to find the meanings of their first and/or last names and discuss the evolution of the concept of naming individuals.
- Examine the underlying meaning of their names.
- Examine how the meaning of names relates to the meanings of other words in the English language.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: A medium-speed or higher connection.
- Discuss with students the reasons that they have names. Talk with them about why they were given the names they have, whether or not they think their names suit them, and what they think their names might mean. See if some of the names of some of the students, especially last names, might have apparent meanings.
- The books (see Library Resources below) and Internet sites listed (see Internet Resources below) enable students to search for their names, first and last, to determine their meanings. Have students use these resources to find out information about their names.
- The Etymology of First Names
Users can investigate the meanings of their first names.
- Alfabette Zoope
This is another site at which users can collect information on their first names.
- Surnames: What's in a Name?
If this site doesn't contain information on a user's last name, the user can send a request in for information. The site also contains historical information about the development of surnames.
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