What Is An Abstract Noun?

Abstract Nouns Examples
& An Artistic Lesson Plan

Noun Rap Song

A noun is the name for any word that is a person, place, thing or idea. Person, place and thing nouns are concrete. That means you can experience them with your five senses. The only type of noun that you can’t experience with your five senses is an idea noun. Idea nouns are also known as abstract nouns. These are nouns that you can’t see or touch or feel or smell or taste, but they still exist. In this lesson plan, you’ll review common abstract nouns with your student’s favorite music and artwork.

Abstract Noun Lesson Plan

Before the lesson: Ask students to bring in their favorite love song. Depending on how you can play media in your classroom, they could bring it in on CD, mp3 player a YouTube link.

1. Introduce the concept of concrete v. abstract nouns with Flocabulary’s Grammar Rap “Noun” song. Listen to the song, and click on lyrics to learn more about nouns. You may wish to focus on the first verse, which reviews the difference between concrete and abstract nouns.

2. Ask each student to pick three concrete nouns from the Noun song. Tell them that they have 1 minute to draw very quick pictures of the concrete nouns. After the minute is up, have them switch their papers with a partner, and students to identify the concrete nouns that their partner drew. Students should be able to identify the concrete nouns quickly.

3. Now show students this list of common abstract nouns:

ability education jealousy rumor
adventure evil liberty sadness
anger fear life satisfaction
beauty freedom love silliness
bravery friendship memory speed
calm goodness need surprise
childhood happiness opinion talent
compassion hate pain uncertainty
confidence honesty patience victory
curiosity hope peace wisdom
death imagination power  
disappointment intelligence pride

See more common abstract nouns here.

4. Ask students to try the same drawing activity (3 words, 1 minute) with 3 abstract nouns of their choice. Students should have greater difficulty with this exercise, and greater difficulty guessing their classmate’s drawings. Ask students: Why is it harder to quickly draw abstract nouns?

5. Discuss with the class that abstract nouns are hard to define and draw because you can’t experience them with the five senses. Ask students to define “love.” Their answers will be varied, of course. Explain to them that like love, abstract nouns can be hard to define. As a result, artists have worked (since the time that there were artists) to represent abstract nouns and ideas through various sense mediums.

Play a few of the student’s love songs that they brought in. After you play the song, ask students to discuss or write about how each song “defines” the abstract idea of love. Students can take lyrics and musical tone into account. In case students didn’t bring any in any songs, here are a few love songs you could to start with:

6. Abstract noun student project options:

For each project, students should begin by choosing an abstract noun besides love.

  • Find 2-3 songs that you think define the abstract noun. Using specific lyrics and musical attributes, write a short essay explaining how the songs define the abstract noun. Make sure to discuss any differences in definitions.
  • Create a collage that visually defines the abstract noun. After the collage is finished, write a reflection about how the different images contribute to the definition.
  • Choreograph a short dance piece that represents the abstract noun. Then write a reflection about how the movements contribute to the definition.
  • Write a short scene that works to define the abstract noun. Then write a reflection about how different aspects of the scene contribute to the definition.

7. Make sure to give time for students to share their abstract noun projects with the class. You could also end with the large, open-ended question: Is art the pursuit of defining abstract nouns?

Did your students make a great abstract noun project? Share it with us in the comments!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This lesson is so smart! Although I’ve used songs to depict abstract nouns, I wish I’d thought about this sequence when introducing definition essay writing with my high school sophomores. I will definitely be using this idea if it’s okay with you.

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