TEL Lesson Plan
Medical Terminology

Grade Level: 11-12
Subject: Nursing Education
Time Frame: One session


Students will learn that specific terminology is necessary for medical documentation, how to utilize a see-also reference, and the difference between definitions written for common users (patients) and those written for professionals (nurses). They will also learn that easy access to expanded encyclopedic material is available through the same online resources, when more than a definition is needed.

Databases/Other Resources

Health & Wellness Resource Center, MedlinePlus, Gale Virtual Reference Library


The first three-quarters of the session will be used to introduce the concepts of medical language, then the techniques for finding medical terminology using various online tools. The remaining part of the class can be used for practice in looking up terms. The written portion of the assignment will be completed out of class and handed in at the next session.


Steps for Teacher

Introduce content. Although devised for patients, the MedlinePlus tutorial, “Understanding Medical Words,” can be used to introduce concepts of medical language, and as a patient education tool, it also illustrates the need to be able to explain concepts in ways that patients understands.

After the introduction of online dictionaries and other tools, give the students the following list of terms to investigate: cancer, cat scratch fever, cold, flu, headache, heart attack, migraine, neoplasms, shingles, swine flu. (With a few exceptions, these were chosen because they are terms more commonly used by the general public.)  Students findings should be written up, with a paragraph devoted to each term.

In their paragraphs, have students identify the scientific term for each assigned word and compare the ways in which the two dictionaries, Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster, differ in their definitions. Have students evaluate whether the definitions found in the two dictionaries are adequate for their own (or a patient’s) understanding and give examples of how they would proceed to find additional material using Health & Wellness Resource Center and MedlinePlus.

Steps for Librarian

Show the students how to use Health & Wellness Resource Center  to access Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary and the MedLinePlus website's dictionary (Merriam-Webster). The Gale Virtual Reference Library  can be used as an alternative to access the Merriam-Webster  as well as a source of more detailed information related to a topic.

Using “earache” (as well as “ear ache”) as the example, show the students how to access Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary through the use Health & Wellness Resource Center  as well as the MedLinePlus website's dictionary, which is a general Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Demonstrate the difference in the results found when linking directly to the dictionary tab in both HWRC and MedlinePlus and using the site searcher.


Steps for Student

  1. Using an Internet browser, access the TEL website at
  2. Browse resources by Subject to find Health & Nutrition.
  3. Select Health & Wellness Resource Center.
  4. Use the Dictionary tab to search for words describing medical concepts.
  5. Expand the search to encompass all of HWRC.
  6. Using an Internet browser, go to MedlinePlus at
  7. Use the Dictionary tab to search for words describing medical concepts.
  8. Expand the search to encompass all of MedlinePlus.
  9. Write properly grammatical paragraphs on each word including the scientific term, nursing and general definitions, a comparison of the two definitions with an evaluation of the usefulness of the sources in finding explanations and additional information.

Related Activities

none listed

Content Standards

Health Science--Nursing Education:

Standard 1.0 The student will know and apply the academic subject matter required for proficiency within nursing education.

English/Language Arts--Content Area: Reading
The student will develop the reading skills necessary for word recognition, comprehension, interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of print and non-print text.

English/Language Arts--English III

Standard 1-Lanuage

Standard 4-Research

Computer Literacy
Standard 3.0: Students will use technology productivity tools.
Standard 4.0: Students will use technology communication tools.

Learning Expectations/Grade Level Expectations

Nursing Education--Standard 1.0

Learning Expectations:

1.1  Demonstrate the use of medical terminology by writing case plans for client’s disorder.


English/Language Arts--Content Area Reading

Learing Expectations:

The student will use interactive strategies to derive meaning from text.

English III--Standard 1: Lanuage

Course Level Expectations:

CLE 3003.1.1 Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).

CLE 3003.1.2 Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.

CLE 3003.1.3 Understand and use a variety of sentence structures.

English III--Standard 4: Research

Course Level Expectations:

CLE 3003.4.2 Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.

Computer Literatcy--Standard 3.0 & 4.0

Learning Expectations:

3.1 Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
3.2 Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.

4.1 Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
4.2 Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

Performance Indicators State

Nursing Education--Standard 1.0

Performance Inidcators:

The student will:
1.1 Use appropriate abbreviation, prefixes, suffixes, root words, and spelling of all terminology.

English/Language Arts--Content Area Reading

Performance Indicators: None listed

English III--Standard 1: Lanuage

Performance Indicators:

SPI 3003.1.1 Demonstrate the correct use of commas and lesser-used punctuation marks (e.g., hyphens, dashes, colons) in complex and sophisticated constructions.

SPI 3003.1.4 Use phrases and clauses in a variety of ways to create sophisticated complex sentences.

English III--Standard 4: Research

Performance Indicators:

SPI 3003.4.3 Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.

Computer Literacy--Standard 3.0 & 4.0

Performance Indicators:

Use technology tools and resources for managing and communicating personal/professional information (e.g., finances, schedules, addresses, purchases, correspondence).

Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publication, communication, and productivity.

Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem solving, and decision making in content learning.


Assessment is based on the completeness of the analysis of the ten terms. Ten possible points are available for each term. Analyses should include the scientific term (1 point), two definitions with the source identified (2 points), a comparison of the two definitions (2 points), an evaluation of the two resources as to their usefulness in explaining the terms and finding additional information (3 points), and grammatical correctness (2).

ISTE Computer Literacy and Usage Standards

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner

1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.

1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.

1.1.8 Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.

2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.

2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

2.4.3 Recognize new knowledge and understanding.

2.4.4 Develop directions for future investigations.