I’ve long kicked around the idea of using two-dimensional scatter plots beyond typical math applications. Years ago I wrote about graphing characters but more recently realized this would be an interesting way to analyze shades-of-meaning across multiple synonyms.
Let’s take five similar words:
Then, I want to come up with two different ways to “rank” these words. How are these synonyms all different? I came up with:
- long-term vs short-term
- active vs passive
For example, the most long-term of these synonyms (to me) is “joyous.” The most short-term might be “ecstatic.” “Pleased” is very passive, while “ecstatic” is active.
This sets up a pretty interesting way to get into the nuances of these synonyms. In the end, students can plop them onto a scatter plot like so:
I created a Byrdseed.TV lesson about this topic as well.