Lesson Plan

Collaborate with peers throughout the research process via "topic chat rooms"

Share resources and generate inquiry questions using Today’s Meet, Google Docs, & Padlet
Mallory M.
Classroom teacher
Cobble Hill School of American Studies
Brooklyn, NY
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Arts
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

  • Generate inquiry questions based on their research findings
  • Identify reliable websites and conduct research on the topic they've chose
  • Engage in a chat room discussion with peers who are conducting research on the same topic
English Language Arts
Grades 9 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


Activity: Assessing

When you are conducting research, developing questions about things you need to know helps drive your research and analysis. So, let's see what you know about crafting inquiry questions:

 List the qualities and criteria for a good inquiry question. What are some things to consider when brainstorming questions?

To start you off, one example of something to consider when creating an inquiry question is: Can my question truly be answered through my research?

Now you try...

2 DIRECT INSTRUCTION - Posing Inquiry Questions using EngageNY handout

Activity: Other — Modeling

1)Find the "Posing Inquiry Questions" handout on the following link: https://www.engageny.org/resource/researching-to-deepen-understanding-ccss-ela-literacy-grades-6-12

2) Student groups follow along and read the Selecting and Refining portion of the Posing Inquiry Questions Handout.

3) Display the following inquiry question as a model for students:

How does social media affect self-image (for teen girls and boys)?

Explain that it is possible to determine the strength of this inquiry question by using the Selecting and Refining section of the handout. Model for students how to answer these questions using the “Think Aloud” technique. (Read aloud each question below and "think aloud" based on the model question displayed above.)

  • Are you genuinely interested in answering this question?
  • Can this question truly be answered through your research?
  • Is this question clear? Can you pose this question in a way that you and others understand what you are asking?
  • What sort of answers does this question require?
  • Do you already know what the answer is?

 **Then ask student, based on the responses to the questions in the "Selecting and Refining Questions" section, is this a good inquiry question?

3 GUIDED PRACTICE: Which inquiry question is stronger?

Using the "Question" feature in Google Classroom, post the following question to students on the Google Classroom Stream for students to answer:

Question: Which of the inquiry questions (#1 or #2) is a stronger inquiry question?  In your response, explain which questions from the "Selecting and Refining Questions" sheet helped you to select your choice.

1. Why are inappropriate sites reachable to teens at a young age?

2.  How does social media affect teen girls?

4 INDEPENDENT PRACTICE - Research using Today'sMeet and Google Docs

Step 1:  Provide students with a choice of four research topics, and share a "Multimedia Text Set" Google Doc through Google Classroom that lists each of the 4 topics and provide a few websites/video links/etc. underneath each topic to start students off. 

For example, you might provide students with the following 5 topics and resources:

Topic #1: Gender and the media

1)http://digitalbytes.commonsensemedia.org/  ---> Click “Gender and The Media” under the “OUR GENERATION” tab

2) http://ed.ted.com/lessons/looks-aren-t-everything-believe-me-i-m-a-model-cameron-russell

Topic #2: Social Media and how it affects teens

1)http://digitalbytes.commonsensemedia.org/  ---> Click “INSTAFAMOUS” or “WOULD YOU #YOLO” under the “OUR GENERATION” tab



Topic #3: Dating Violence



Topic #4: Cyberbullying


Topic #5:  Human Trafficking



Step 2: Tell students to take a minute to decide on one of the topics for today to explore in greater depth by checking out the resources provided and conducting their own research, too. 

After the minute is up... tell students that they will be placed in TOPIC CHAT ROOMS (using TodaysMeet) while they conduct research on their topics and generate INQUIRY QUESTIONS as they are researching. 

Clarify the purpose Why use a chat room? We can open up a dialogue with other students who are studying the same topic and discuss as we watch/read so that we make sense of the information, get ideas from each other, and don’t feel confused, bored or isolated online while researching!

Note to teacher about how to create topic chat rooms using today's meet: 

  • Go to https://todaysmeet.com/ and create an account!
  • Pick a name for each chat room and decide how long you want to keep each chat room open for. 
  • It's basically as simple as that! You can monitor conversations in each room throughout the class period and use the "mute" feature for students who are being inappropriate, off-task, etc.  
  • You can download a transcript of the conversation to assess/ grade students and plan accordingly for the following lesson

Step 3: Post the links to each topic chat room using the "announcement" feature on Google Classroom and provide the following directions to students:

  •  Tell students that they will want to give their real names, rather than nicknames when they enter the chat room, so that you can assess them and give them a grade for their contributions. 


  • In your TOPIC ROOM, engage in a discussion with your peers while you’re watching, reading, or listening by: (see suggestions below) 

    •  Sharing the link to the resource you’re watching/reading/listening to and recommend it to other topic group members...

    • Sharing some of the inquiry questions you're forming based on your research

    • Sharing the link to the resource you’re watching/reading/listening to and ask group members about a part you’re confused by 

    • Sharing the link to the resource you’re watching/reading/listening to and share with group members what are you shocked by? Wondering about?




Free, Paid

Have students log into the Padlet board you've created (post the link via the "announcement" feature in Google Classroom) https://padlet.com/

Next, ask each student to:

  • create a notecard on Padlet and write their name at the top 
  • type their topic down and then type 3 INQUIRY QUESTIONS they've generated based on their research today

As a whole class, encourage students to then read over the topics and inquiry questions their peers have shared on Padlet and ask a few students to share one or two inquiry questions they see posted on the board which they think are high-quality inquiry questions.