Lesson plan

Math Meanings with Synonyms & Antonyms

Use this lesson to increase your students’ understanding of math vocabulary by completing a Frayer Model. This model focuses on finding antonyms, synonyms, and meanings for the key vocabulary term.
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Students will be able to evaluate the meaning of words with synonyms and antonyms.

(5 minutes)
  • Write "argue" on the board and circle it. Ask students to brainstorm about the word and its parts (e.g., antonyms, synonyms, meaning, part of speech).
  • Create a word web with their thoughts as they give their responses and determine which students may need extra support with their word work based on their responses. Use the Vocabulary Word Web worksheet as a model for what your notes on the board should look like.
  • Ask students for their opinion on why it's beneficial to understand the parts of a word or how the word relates to other words. Allow students to share their answers. Provide the sentence stem "I think we should know how words relate to each other because ____."
  • Ask a student to read through the objective and define synonym and antonym. Have another student point out the synonyms and antonyms from the word web for "argue." Make sure they define antonyms as words that have the opposite meaning and synonyms as words that have the same meaning.
(6 minutes)
  • Explain to students they'll learn how to deepen their understanding of math vocabulary words by understanding how those words relate to each other. Remembering the meanings of math terms can help them when completing math word problems.
  • Display the Frayer Model: Synonyms & Antonyms worksheet and model completing it with the word "factor." Emphasize that the word can have a mathematical meaning (e.g., the numbers you multiply together to get a bigger number) or multi-situational (e.g., something that makes a difference in the result).
  • Check your answers by looking at an online dictionary, such as Wordsmyth, and trying to find more synonyms and antonyms for the word.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the Frayer Model: Synonyms & Antonyms worksheet and have a student explain each section. Allow another student to add to the directions if necessary.
  • Group students and pass out one math term index card to each group. Have members complete the Frayer Model together with their assigned math term, but ask each group member to write on their own Frayer Model.
  • Assign a leader for each section. Ask them to oversee their section by making sure their group has fully completed it. Have them prompt group members for more details. Allow students to check their answers using an online dictionary before groups present their Frayer Models.
  • Model presenting your own Frayer Model from the direct teach portion of the lesson if they need an example of how to present their information before the class.
  • Have each leader present their own section and ask follow-up questions to the group, such as: "When do you use this word? Which antonym or synonym is most common? Which meaning of the word is most familiar? Why was it important to create a Frayer Model for this word?" Ask the other students to copy the word meanings and the antonyms and synonyms on the back of their own Frayer Model for each word the groups present.
(7 minutes)
  • Distribute a new Frayer Model: Synonyms & Antonyms worksheet to each student. Choose the words for the students based on their areas of struggle, or allow them to choose one word from a list of three math terms to use to complete their worksheet.
  • Allow students to check their answers using an online dictionary to further develop their answers.


  • Provide sentence stems for the group and independent practice section and model how to use each stem. For example:
    • Our ____ (synonyms/antonyms) for this word are…
    • I use the word ____ when…
    • This word is important because…
  • Pre-teach how to use the online dictionary and model in small groups how to find the synonyms, antonyms, and definitions.
  • Pre-teach the meanings of antonyms and synonyms.
  • Create a Frayer Model that already has the sentence stems written for the math term and allow students to complete the scaffolded worksheet.


  • Allow students to practice with non-mathematical vocabulary words in isolation and in context with the Build Vocabulary with Synonyms and Antonyms worksheet.
  • Have students create a scaffolded Frayer Model for a math term of their choice. This model will have fill-in the-blank sentence stems that other students can use to complete the model.
  • Ask students to use an online dictionary to check their answers for their Frayer Models.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute a lined sheet of paper and have students write why they think it’s important to understand how words relate to each other and have them write about their favorite math vocabulary term from today.
  • Allow this written assignment to serve as a formative assessment of their ability to translate their oral ideas from their group and presentations to their writing.
(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to share their favorite antonyms and synonyms from today’s lesson with their partners. Allow them to use their written assignment for assistance with their presentation.

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