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Tips for teaching the engineering vocabulary in context

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2.2. Tips for teaching the engineering vocabulary in context 
Using visuals in vocabulary in context passages 
Students are far more likely to engage with content that includes visuals. The same 
is true for vocabulary. When students connect a picture to a word, it helps them 
visualize the word and the definition in a more accurate way. In my vocabulary in 
context resources, I not only include a visual, but that visual is a real photograph. 
Real photographs also help students make text to self and text to world 
connections. Here is a sample text. 
Ask Mario, our electrical expert. Mario answers all your questions. 
Hi, Mario. My name's Bob. How does the burglar alarm on my window work? 
Mario's answer: 
Well, Bob, on your window there's a small magnet. Next to it, on the 
window frame, there's a metal switch and two terminals. The terminals are 
attached to two wires and the wires are connected to a battery and a buzzer. They 
make a simple circuit. When the window is closed, the switch is next to the 
magnet. The magnet pulls the switch towards it. This closes the circuit and 
electricity flows through it. The buzzer does not sound.
When the burglar opens the window, he breaks the circuit. The magnet 

moves away from the switch and this allows the spring to pull the switch back. 
This opens the circuit. The open circuit prevents the current from flowing. When 
this happens, the buzzer makes a sound. 
But how does the buzzer sound when there is no circuit? 
Providing vocabulary definitions relevant to context 
There are often several meanings of one word. It is part of the reason English is 
one of the most difficult languages to learn. Providing definitions, that are relevant 
to the context you are reading, will help with fluency and comprehension of the 
text. However, I always follow up with discussing other meanings of the word, so 
that students are aware that there are more than one. 
A device that converts energy into an action such as motion. For example, a 
pneumatic cylinder is a type of actuator that uses compressed air to push, lift, pull, 
rotate, or open and close items. 

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