Lesson Plan

Student-directed Research at the Elementary School Level

Students will choose a topic of interest and conduct research from a menu of teacher-selected resources. They will create a presentation to share their learning with their class.
Jennifer A.
Classroom teacher
Montclaire Elementary School
Los Altos, CA
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My Grades 2
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to watch a video and gather facts.  They will be able to read books and articles selected by the teacher and gather facts.  They will organize their facts into a presentation and find visuals that compliment the topic.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 2 - 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Determine 5-8 research topics that match your students' interests.  For example, soccer, ocean animals, and Legos.  Find a 1-2 minute video about each of the topics and show them to the class.  Then ask students to use Socrative to vote on their first and second choice topics.  Once students have voted use the data to form pairs or groups of 3 to work on a research project together.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Conversing

Share several sample presentations with students.  Share the rubric you'll use to grade their research presentation.  As a class complete the rubric for each of the sample presentations so students are clear about the expectations for their own presentation.

3 Guided Practice

Gather resources appropriate for your students.  This could include paper articles and paper books.  In addition, create a document in Google Drive for each of the research topics.  In each document, include links to related videos in Zaption for students to watch.  When putting video into Zaption, use the insert question feature to help students refine and reflect on their understanding.  In the document also list titles of books that students can read in Epic! Books for Kids.  Finally, find articles in ReadWords that are appropriate and upload them to Actively Learn.  In Actively Learn add questions, as with Zaption, to help students focus on the topic and think critically.   Add the article titles in Actively Learn to the document.  The document then becomes the list of resources for students to access.  They can also use the document to take notes.

4 Wrap-Up

Students use Educreations, or a similar app, to create a presentation of their topic.  Give them a copy of the rubric so they can compare their product to the assignment requirements.  Educreations is a good app to use initially because it's easy for students to search for appropriate photos right from within the app.  This is especially helpful for younger students or a first research project when you want students to focus on fact content rather than finding images.  Students present to the class.