Cognates are an obvious bridge to the English language and are particularly common in content areas such as Maths, Science, and Social Studies. However, many English words might also be related through other word forms or word associations.
To introduce new content-related academic vocabulary, ask your students to group them in three categories: Cognate, Somehow Related and Different.
In the example below, my Dutch Year 8 EAL Learners completed this activity in a group of 4 to prepare themselves for the topic of Superpowers in Geography. They really enjoyed the process and it generated a lot of conversation.
This exercise can be done individually or in language groups. As a follow up exercise you could ask your students to write a paragraph about the topic in which they have to use all the words from the different category and as many as they like of the other categories.
As an alternative, you could also use this kind of activity for grouping a series of grammatical structures, proverbs, idioms, cultural differences of body language, etc. .
Let me know how it worked in your classroom and share any other variations for this kind of activity in comments.