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  Abbreviations and acronyms
Updated 16 February 2004, 15.52
Peter Jackson receives his Bafta
Learning aims
  • Identify an abbreviation or acronym.

  • Learn the difference between the two types.

  • Add to existing knowledge of both types.

Introduction
Display the words 'abbreviation' and 'acronym'. Find out from children what their definitions of each are:

Abbreviation - the first letter or letters of each important word placed together eg: RAC (Royal Automobile Club).

Acronym - an abbreviation that can be said as a word eg: Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).

Read through with the class any of these stories:

Discuss what the abbreviations stand for.

Main activity
Give out copies of the

The class find meanings of the abbreviations and acronyms on the worksheet and sort them into the two types.

Answers for the worksheet:

  • Automobile Association
  • Royal Air Force
  • Video Cassette Recorder
  • Random Access Memory
  • British Broadcasting Corporation
  • Radio Detection And Ranging
  • Independent Television
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
  • British Airways
  • United Nations
  • World Wide Web
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Royal Ulster Constabulary
  • Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
The acronyms are:
  • Ram
  • Radar
  • Aids
  • Laser
Extension activity
Children research and compile two definitive lists: one headed 'Abbreviations', the other 'Acronyms'. When stuck for ideas they can use dictionaries.

Another good story to use to examine abbreviations and acronyms is:

Harry Potter DVD

Plenary
Children report back their lists of abbreviations and acronyms.

Recap on differences between the two types. Ask for the longest they found.

The world's longest abbreviation (from the Guinness Book of Words) is from the Russian language:
NIIOMTPLABOPA
RMBETZHELBETRAB
SBOMONIMONKON
OTDTEKHSTROMONT

Which means (in English):
Laboratory for Shuttering, Reinforcement, Concrete and Ferroconcrete Operations for Composite-monolithic and Monolithic Constructions of the Department of Technology of Building Assembly Operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for Building Mechanization and Technical Aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the USSR.


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