Child Eating with chopsticks

©Tamaki Sono


Teeth serve many different functions for various animals. In this creative brainstorming activity students will expand their vocabulary related to teeth and their functions.


Students will be able to:

  1. list verbs related to teeth and the many different functions they serve.
  • “What Can Teeth Do?” worksheet (1 per student)


Tell your students that they will be brainstorming words that describe the actions of teeth, such as chew, bite, chomp, catch, etc. Ask them how many words they think might exist to describe things that teeth can do.

Part 1: Brainstorming

This activity can be done individually or as a class:


  1. Distribute one “What Can Teeth Do?” worksheet to each student.
  2. Give students one minute (or longer, depending on the age and ability of your students) to write down as many words as they can that describe things that teeth can do.
  3. When time is up, have students count up how many words they recorded.
  4. Let students turn the sheet over to see the list of words. Are there any words on the list that they didn’t think of? Did they think of any words that aren’t on the list?

Whole class

  1. Have a class brainstorming session for words that describe things that teeth can do. Write the words on the board. Challenge students to cover the whole board with words. You can set a time limit or continue until students run out of ideas.
  2. When the brainstorming is complete, read out the list of words provided on the worksheet. Are there any words on the list that the students didn’t think of? Did they think of any words that aren’t on the list?
  1. Go over the words on the answer list. With your students, identify words that are unfamiliar. Assign groups of students a few words to look up in the dictionary and have them share the definitions with the class.
  2. If students thought of any words that are not on the list, have them share the words and (if necessary) explain what they mean.
  3. Ask students what part of speech these words represent. (They should all be verbs).

If you have students who speak a language other than English, ask them to share with the class one or two verbs from their language that describe things that teeth can do. Have them teach their classmates how to pronounce the word and what it means.

Common Core State Standards

Writing standards

Grade 3

4.With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.

Language standards

Grade 2

4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

Grade 3

1a. Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.

Speaking and Listening Standards

Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2, and 3

1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten/grade 1/grade 2/grade 3 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Appropriate for: Kindergarten - 4th Grade
Standards for: Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Activity Time: 10 minutes
Subjects: ELA Common Core, Life Science