Update: I had a fellow educator blog about this very resource!! How exciting! Read what she has to say here: http://sproutclassrooms.com/this-is-off-topic-but/
Teaching Kids To Research
From my experience, teaching students to effectively engage in research can be difficult! Key word: effectively. Kids LOVE research, but I have noticed that when they are given a large assignment, they get overwhelmed and end up copying and pasting things that they find from Wikipedia. We all know Wikipedia is a no no as well as the “copy and paste” strategy. For the past few years, I have allowed my students to get involved in research a little at a time. I have found this to be MUCH more effective in their learning and in the products they produce. I allow my students to choose their own questions to find. I require them to put the answer in their own words, and they must provide citations from their source.
Make Research Fun!
- Step 1: Students are introduced to the research world. I modeled how to search using key words. I also showed some examples and non examples of good research sites and research questions. (We start small with the research questions and grow throughout the year!)
- Step 2: Students put their thinking caps on and began thinking of their own questions.
- Step 3: The oh-so-handy “Mustache Research Template” was introduced.
- Step 4: The kiddos created a research question and used the internet to research and find their answer. They filled in their information on the template.
- Step 5: We took some super fun mustache photos for our hallway display.
- Step 6: We posted our research templates with our photos, added a catchy title, and we now have a cute hall way display! Students can read and learn as they go by, and students are motivated to do their best work on their questions!
Great For Centers
I plan on using this activity as a “computer center” activity that we incorporate weekly into our lesson. The great thing about this template is that the students can create their own topics, or the teacher can provide the topic as guidance for the student. For example, if you are studying the Louisiana Purchase in your classroom, you can make that the topic of the research, and the students will create their own research question. This activity is truly differentiated in its nature because students are working at their own ability level and will produce differentiated results based on their level. It is amazing to see the types of questions the students create and how they answer the questions. This puts the learning in the hands of the students and the teacher works solely as a facilitator.
Aligns With Common Core
This activity is also aligned with the Common Core standards. Grades 3 – 6 most closely align with this template as grade 7 and up requires students to provide more detailed citations and bibliography information. However, I believe that even students in higher grades could benefit from this activity if it was used as an introductory resource.