Lesson Plan

Create a digital, non-fiction book

Students will conduct research about an animal and then create a digital, non-fiction book to demonstrate their learning
Crissy C.
Hunt Middle School
Frisco, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8

Students will be able to...

  • use online and print resources to answer questions about their animal
  • create a digital,  non-fiction book which contains a title page, content pages, table of contents, glossary, and labeled illustrations
Grades 1 – 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


Activity: Exploring

This lesson will take about a 6-7 days from start to finish, working about 45 minutes - 1 hour a day. The lesson is designed as a collaboration between the teacher and librarian/media specialist. 

Prior to the lesson, work with your school's librarian to gather a wide variety of non-fiction picture books about animals. You might want to choose animals that you would like for your students to research. 

Spread the books around the room and allow students to look through the books. Give them about 10-15 minutes of time just to read and look at pictures. Be sure students are looking through several books rather than just focusing on one book.

When time is up, ask students to share the following:

  • Which animal is your favorite and why?
  • What do you already know about that animal?
  • What would you like to know about that animal?

Ask some students to share with the entire class. You can fill out a class KWL chart based on their responses.

Allow students to select the animal they would like to research for the project.

Next, direct students to notice the non-fiction text features of their books. Briefly review things such as table of contents, illustrations, glossary, and headings. (Note: Non-fiction text features should be a lesson that happens prior to starting this project.)

Student Instructions





Length of time: 2-3 days

**Consider using parent volunteers as well as your librarian for support during the research phase.

Work with your librarian to set up stations in the library for research: online resources and print resources. We had three stations: PebbleGo database on Chromebooks, QR codes to scan with iPads, and library books.

Put the class into groups and scatter them among the stations. Each student will get to visit all three stations over the course of several days of research.

Print a copy of the research graphic organizer for each student. The teacher and librarian should be monitoring student progress and helping struggling students as needed.


Begin this step after students have completed their research.

Before you begin the activity, review the purpose of a table of contents and glossary. Use the Table of contents and Glossary graphic organizers to lead students through the creation of their own Table of contents and glossary. The graphic organizers are intended to guide students in the creation of their digital book and provide the teacher with a check for understanding before students begin creating their digital book.

The table of contents for each student will be identical; however, you can differentiate by allowing more advanced students come up with a creative heading for each of their fun facts.

Work with students to identify key words in their research to use for the glossary. Help students define their words.


Students will first use the drawing graphic organizer to draw and label a picture of their animal and its habitat. The use of the graphic organizer is just for planning purposes and for the teacher to check for understanding before creating the digital book.

After completing the illustrations on paper, students will use Doodle Buddy to create two separate illustrations: a picture of their animal with at least 3 body parts labeled and a picture of the animal's habitat with at least 3 parts labeled.

Tech note: You can find numerous video tutorials on how to use Doodle Buddy. Students will need to save their illustrations to the camera roll of the device they are using. **Students will need to use the same device to create their digital book that they used to draw their illustations.


Finally, it's time to bring it all together.

** Consider using parent volunteers and your librarian to help during this phase of the project.

Show students how to use the Doodle Buddy app to create their book. You can do this either through an online tutorial or a personal demonstration. Volunteers can be very helpful at this phase in the project since putting the book together can be challenging for some students.

Book Creator also allows students to record themselves reading their book.

The final book should consist of the following pages:

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • physical characteristics with labeled illustration
  • habitat with labeled illustration
  • food
  • life cycle
  • fun facts
  • glossary



Activity: Presenting

Set up your classroom for a gallery walk and allow students to browse the other students' projects. 

Give each student a feedback form that they must fill out as they view other projects. Ask things such as what's one new thing you learned from another student's project or what's an animal that you'd like to learn more about.

Don't forget to share their projects with parents! Create QR codes for each project and give to parents or display the projects on a class website or other platform such as See Saw.