World Geography Lesson Plans:
No Subject is an Island

Connect geography lesson plans to the broader curriculum and to the real world through the study of Latin roots. No subject is an island, entire of itself! Make connections your students will remember.

Latin Word of the Week (January 20, 2008):



The most basic geography lesson plans become more memorable and powerful with Latin roots. For starters, the Latin word for island – insula – is a great way to introduce the strategy of building vocabulary via Latin.

Geography Lesson Plans – Vocabulary:

The root of many geography terms can be used to build vocabulary. How might you use the following list of roots based on the Latin word for island? Let no subject be an island. Connect geography to other subject areas through derivatives and related words.

Derivatives of INSULA:

insula (n): an island, but also any circumscribed body or a patch of skin. See more vocabulary words based on the Latin for Lagoon!

peninsula (n): almost an island. This is a contraction of the Latin word paene, meaning almost, and insula. Florida is almost an island; Sparta is almost an island.

insulate (v): To make into an island. To set apart from, cover, isolate, segregate. A warm jacket insulates you from the cold, i.e. sets you apart as an island of warmth. The mother insulated her child from life’s hardships.

insulation (n): the state of being insulated or material used to insulate. How does thick insulation make your home a kind of island?

insular (adj): of or pertaining to an island. An insular community might be one that lives on an island, such as the year-round inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard. Or, more metaphorically, a gated community is insular. An insular teenage boy might set himself apart socially, or he may be narrow minded and unwilling to share ideas.

insulator (n): The Latin suffix -tor means he who does. So insulator means one who insulates. It is also a material of low conductivity which stops the flow of electrical current.

insulative (adj): The suffix -ive turns a verb to an adjective. The glass ornaments were shipped in insulative packaging.

peninsular (adj): of or forming a peninsula. Another adjectival Latin suffix: Just as insular from insula.

insulant (n): an insulating material used in building.

islet (n): a very small island. There are rocky islets off the Oregon coast.

Latin in the Romance Languages:

isla: Spanish for island, direct descendent of the Latin insula.

isola: Italian for island, direct descendent of the Latin insula.

île: French for island, direct descendent of the Latin insula.

insulă: Romanian for island, direct descendent of the Latin insula.

See another geography lesson plan: Terra v. Humus!

See More Latin Roots

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