- Grade level: Middle school
- Subject Area: Language Arts, Foreign Language
In this unit, students consider the etymology of different words, including their own names. They examine how influences from other languages, including computer languages, find their way into English discourse.
- Develop an understanding of the connections among languages.
- Think about how the meanings of words may have evolved over time.
Materials & 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 (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). 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: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or higher.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: What's in a Name?. In this lesson, students use Internet and library resources to find the meanings of their first and/or last names. They discuss the evolution of the concept of naming individuals.
- Lesson Two: The Relatedness of Languages. Students use Internet and library resources to select and examine the origins of phrases or words, watching particularly for words that have origins in other languages.
- Lesson Three: Technology's Influence on Language. Students use Internet resources to examine the influence of technological terminology on English and other languages.
Relation to Standards
We have drawn on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language's foreign language standards as well as evolving standards for the National Council for Teachers of English. These standards provide excellent guidelines for teachers on how to focus this kind of research work in their classrooms.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may hook up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.