Teaching Prepositions

It can be tricky to help students understand the concept behind prepositions. They know that nouns are people, places, or things; verbs are action words; and adjectives and adverbs are describing words or modifiers. What do prepositions do? Why do we need them? Explain that a preposition sits before a noun or a pronoun to show the relationship to another word in the sentence.

Use this fun activity to help students visualize how prepositions work in a sentence.

There are a number of seating arrangements that you can try depending on the floor space of your classroom.

  • You will need a large cardboard box with relatively low sides. Your local warehouse store may give them away.
  • Place the box at the front of the room and ask for a student volunteer to stand inside the box.
  • Tell the class, “[name of volunteer] is inside the box. Inside is a preposition that tells us the relationship between [name of volunteer] and the box.”
  • Ask students what other relationships between [name of volunteer] and the box they can discover. Students may generate a variety of prepositions including:
    • outside
    • beside
    • behind
    • within
    • underneath

    Continue to ask for student responses until it appears that all possibilities have been exhausted.

  • Follow up the activity by having students write three sentences using prepositions to describe items in the classroom. They should underline or draw a box around the prepositions.