Thursday, August 4, 2011

Research Unit

Long time, no blog! What happened to July?

So, today I'm posting one of my favorite research units. Three years ago I worked with an amazing teacher, Nancy Deveneau, to create this. Actually to say she is amazing is not giving her enough credit, I would give my right pinky to teach another year with her!

In first grade we had two research projects a year. The first unit was nocturnal animals which we started at the end of October and worked until Thanksgiving break. Nancy and I combed through several libraries to find nonfiction books that would be the "right fit" for our kids. We checked out over 30 books between our school library and two local libraries. We shared the books between our classes. First, we modeled how to conduct research in a whole group setting on bats. We did this for several days. Then, we assigned kids in groups and took them to our library. (Yes, I know, I hate assigning them in groups without letting them choose, but you will see in our next research unit that we gave them many more options when they had a research project under their belt.) We sorted the books by tables- so the skunk kids sat together, owls, etc. We had parents come in to help and of course our librarian was fantastic! We spent 30 minutes in the library for three days. After we worked for 30 minutes Mrs. Deveneau's class came in for thirty minutes, etc. On the fourth day the librarian talked to the kids about online resources and gave them time to practice. The fifth day of research the students printed some new info from these resources in the computer lab. Below are the pages they would fill out while in the library. Download the Owl Page

Download the Skunk Page

Download the Raccoon Page

After a week of researching the kids worked together to make their presentation boards. Within their groups they decided how they wanted to present to the class. Some groups performed poetry, others used this script to create a newscast. If you would like to see their podcasts click here. The third and final week of this project, the students also had to do some independent work at stations. This included an All About Book production and a descriptive paragraph about their animal using the stoplight writing method. I gave each student a grade using this rubric.

Also, tomorrow I will be posting our polar unit. We did this in January when the kids were really soaring with their reading and had experience with research. I LOVE the arctic/polar project we came up with and can't wait to share it with you. You will definitely see how we layed the foundation with night animals and then built up. Enjoy!


  1. Love, love, LOVE this! I can't wait to use these with my students. Thanks for sharing.

    First Grade OWLS

  2. You are so very welcome Nicole! You will have so much fun!

  3. lots and lots and lots of research.