Take the Prefix Challenge [Learning the Most Used Prefixes]. Author: Visual Thesaurus.

This lesson teaches the most used prefixes, showing students how they affect word meanings and allowing students to create their own words with prefixes in an interactive activity. This resource contains pictures for classroom use and handouts. This lesson can be used in any grade 3 - 12, but seems most appropriate for upper elementary or middle school. This lesson can also be used in any remdial reading/language arts class in high school to provide a base for vocabulary development.  This lesson utilizes visual and kinesthetic learning styles as well as the Visual Thesaurus for students to check if they have created a real word.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • use the Visual Thesaurus to analyze how a prefix can transform a word's meaning
  • form words by combining common prefixes with a set of words
  • use the Visual Thesaurus as a reference to verify whether or not a particular prefix can be combined with a particular word, and to define words
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • How can students use prefixes to help them transform words' meanings and to decode unfamiliar words?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints


  • student notebooks
  • white board
  • computers with Internet access
  • scissors (one pair per small group, optional)
  • "Twelve Common Prefixes" sheets (one per small group)
  • "Twelve Words" sheets (one per small group) 
  • "Prefix Word Log" sheets (one per small group)