Wednesday, May 13, 2015

End of Year Research Report: Animals!

It's that time of year when some students think school is almost over, so it's time for fun and games every day.  I see where they can get this idea... We recently had field day, our ice-cream multiplication party, our end of year parent picnic, and field day.  We also just finished our science book and social studies book - - - so now what?! Movies? NOPE!  Time for some PROJECTS!!  

Around this time of year, I start my animal research reports with my students.  It takes them about 2 weeks of afternoons here and there to complete this project, and they absolutely LOVE IT!  I'd like to share with you how I organize this.

  • First, I give each student a manila folder to hold all their information.  A regular folder will do.

  • Second, I start collecting articles about the animal students chose.  I know some teachers let their students search online, but I'm old school on this.  I will google it - and print it for them.  I like to see them read the papers and mark on the papers.  Having a hard copy also always my whole class to work at the same time (I don't have enough computers).  I usually start with Kids National Geographic and then google the terms "(Animal Name) facts for kids".  

Sometimes the website will have a printer friendly link, but most of the time the website does not.  If this is the case, I simply copy and paste what information I want onto a word document.  I make sure to add the link, so students can cite the source.

  • Third, students start collecting facts from their articles.  I have a template that I have been using for 5 years now.  It is broken down into the following sections:
  1. Introduction
  2. Appearance
  3. Habitat
  4. Diet
  5. Parenting
  6. Survival
  7. Special Features


  • The fourth step is having students write one paragraph for each section.  When they are done, they can't believe how beautiful it looks.  Even your struggling writers will successfully have a multi-paragraph report.  

  • This last step is a bonus - I teach my students how to make a power point presentation using their notes.  These students will have the option to present using their power points instead of just reading from their research report.  

There you have it!  A fun project to keep students learning :)