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Learning Synonyms and Antonyms in Pairs Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-WCP002
Submitted by: Margaret Corley
Endorsed by: Don Descy, Mankato State University Date: May 14, 1997

Grade Level(s): 6


  • Language Arts/Writing (composition)


In this lesson students will work cooperatively to learn about synonyms and antonyms and how to use them. They will do this by matching word cards that have the same meaning and word cards with different meanings and using the words in sentences.


  • Students will be able to identify and use synonyms and antonyms.
  • Students will be able to use synonyms and antonyms to make their writing more interesting.
  • Objectives:

  • Students will match words that are synonyms and words that are antonyms.
  • Students will create sentences that have a word that can be replaced with an antonym to have an opposite meaning or a synonym to have the same meaning.
  • Background Information:

    If you have been doing descriptive writing assignments, this lesson will help students who tend to use the same words over and over.


  • cardboard word cards (see note)
  • paper
  • pencils
  • Note: to make 30 cards

  • Pick 15 words, then a synonym for each word. (total of 30 words)
  • With a black marker, write the 30 words on the cards.
  • Mix up the cards.
  • Pick another 15 words, then an antonym for each word. (total of 30)
  • Now write these words on the back of the other cards that have been mixed up in a red pen. Now when the students flip over their cards, they will go to a different person to find the match.
  • Procedure:

  • Give each student a word card.
  • Tell students to look at the word written in black.
  • Tell students to find the person with a word that has a similar meaning.
  • After everyone has found a match, ask if anyone know what these words are called that have the same meaning. (synonyms)
  • Have students, in their pair, think of two more synonyms for their words. (If students are having difficulty, you may wish to provide them with a thesaurus.)
  • Tell students to think of one sentence that can be used with either word so the sentence has the same meaning. (Ex.1. The girl sang a lovely song. Ex.2. The girl sang a beautiful song.)
  • In pairs still, have the students read their words cards, tell their two synonyms they came up with and read their sentence using each of the words.
  • Turn the cards over to the red letter words.
  • Tell students to find the person with a word that has an opposite meaning.
  • Ask if anyone knows what words are called that have the opposite meaning. (antonyms)
  • Repeat steps 5-7 for antonyms, creating sentences with opposite meanings.
  • Assessment:

  • Give students a paragraph that uses a repeating word. eg. The girl had a wonderful time at the dance. The music was wonderful. She wore a wonderful dress. Students will rewrite the paragraph using synonyms, so that the paragraph has the same meaning, but is more interesting.
  • Give students a paragraph and have them replace word with antonyms so that the paragraph has the opposite meaning.