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Vocabulary Pyramid Game


Students give clues, make inferences, and draw conclusions about important words.



  1. Create the Vocabulary Pyramid Game with words and visuals using the template provided.
  2. Organize students into thinking partners and assign each a role (A or B).
  3. Reveal a word in the pyramid.
  4. Student A gives clues about the revealed word.
  5. Student B guesses the word from the clues.
  6. When Student B guesses correctly, Student A pops up their hands into the air and says, “Woo Hoo!”
  7. After hearing 7-8 exclamations, reveal the next word in the game.
  8. Student pairs continue giving clues and guessing until all words are guessed.
  9. Conduct an applause-o-meter quickcheck: Read one word on the game board at a time and allow students to applaud loudly for the word they thought was most difficult. Review the words that receive the most applause.

Classroom Management

  • Rehearse the game using simple words (candy, soda, movie titles) before using with academic content.
  • Consider using the strategy as a learning station.
  • Remind students there will be no harm or humiliation for incorrect answers because correcting mistakes is a sign of intelligence!


  • Promote access by allowing the use of vocabulary journals, student/teacher notes, and digital resources.
  • Promote access by previewing words with a supportive peer or including visuals with the written prompts.
  • Promote response support by adjusting the pacing of the game as appropriate.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Can the words be classified or categorized in any way?
    • Select the 2 most difficult words and create analogies connecting each word to something familiar.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.