Education Technology

NCTE: Exploring Onomatopoeia

Published on 07/19/2006

Activity Overview

Students will brainstorm a list of onomatopoetic words and then find examples of onomatopoeia in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "The Bells." After they reflect on how the onomatopoetic words add to the poem, they will write their own onomatopoetic poem.

Before the Activity

See the attached Activity PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity.

Print the appropriate pages from the Activity for your class.

Install the LearningCheck(tm) App on the students' graphing calculators following the attached instructions.

Inform the class that their task is to find examples of onomatopoeia and to determine the reasons that the poet used this literary device.

During the Activity

  • Distribute the appropriate pages from the Activity to your class
  • Distribute the LearningCheck(tm) file(s) to your class using TI Connect(tm) and the appropriate TI Connectivity cable
  • Follow the procedures outlined in the Activity


  • Students will:
  • Explain the definition of onomatopoeia.
  • Explore the ways this literary device is used.
  • Find examples of onomatopoeia in selected excerpts.
  • Analyze the purpose of onomatopoeia in the works selected for review.
  • Identify new examples of onomatopoeia on the Internet and in other sources.
  • Apply knowledge of onomatopoeia to describe a place or event.
  • Demonstrate thorough comprehension of the literary device and its usage in literary works.
  • After the Activity

    Five to ten minutes before the end of the class, select one student to read aloud the second excerpt. Select other students to identify the onomatopoetic elements in the excerpt, and then have one or two additional students read their interpretations to the class. Briefly discuss the interpretations.

    If the third excerpt was not analyzed during class, this excerpt can be assigned for homework.