Games to Play to Help Students Learn Medical Terminology

Written by kylie lemon
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Games to Play to Help Students Learn Medical Terminology
Medical terminology can be tedious for students to learn by rote. (head anatomy image by JASON WINTER from

Medical terminology is the umbrella term that incorporates the words and vocabulary that people in the field of medicine use to refer to the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Names of pathologies and diseases are also part of this language that is used by doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners. Many of the words have Latin origins and at first glance seem difficult to learn. Games are a useful and interactive way to introduce students to medical terminology.

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Online Flashcard Games

There are a number of websites that offer free flashcard games and online quizzes for learning medical terminology. Students can benefit from playing these games. The quizzes range from information and terminology on heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and other conditions as well as general medical terms. The quizzes are designed at different levels, so as the student becomes more familiar with certain terms, he can move up a level to keep the games challenging and to learn more terms. (See Resources.)

Board Games

An interactive game may help students to retain the difficult medical terminology that they must learn. An example of such a game is MedHead, which mixes medical terminology with medical-related questions in a competitive board game. The game features a skeleton of the human body printed on a board. To play, dice are thrown and students move their tokens along the skeleton and answer questions depending on where the token lands. The medical questions are divided up into various categories that relate to parts and systems of the human body. These categories include the abdomen, musculoskeletal system, nervous system and head and neck.

Singing Skeleton Game

For young students, learning basic medical terminology through a song is an engaging way to introduce them to parts of the body and basic anatomy. The "Dry Bones" or "Skeleton Bones" song is a well-known and catchy tune that details the bones that make up our skeletons and how the bones are connected. Young students can learn the words to this song as well as miming actions that go along with it. You can add some more excitement to this game by having students freeze when the music stops and anyone who moves is out of the game. (See Resources.)

Crossword Puzzles

Create a crossword puzzle for students that has medical terminology as its focus. This is not only interactive but ensures that students learn correct spelling. Be creative with the clues so that they are not too obvious. You can also devise crossword puzzles with different levels of difficulty. Another option is to come up with a fairly easy puzzle but make it a competition to see which student can complete it first. Have a prize ready that is somehow related to medical terminology. A T-shirt with a labelled image of the human skeleton or body would be appropriate.

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