For the four grade levels I teach, my current unit for all students is a research project. I selected four different topics and grouped my students into pairs or threes; they are to conduct proper research and create a Google Slides presentation. The topics are as follows:
- Grade 3–origin of a holiday
- Grade 4–significant person or group in Black History
- Grade 5–exploration of a specific science topic
- Grade 6–background and historical information about a state
In a previous lesson based around plagiarism and bibliographies, I reviewed with all of my students what exactly constitutes plagiarism and how to conduct responsible research. They also learned how to give credit to their sources through a bibliography. We are now bringing these learned ideas into practice through this project. I am allowing my students to explore (with certain guidelines) and create a slideshow presentation reviewing their findings.
For the third and fourth grades, they are asked to use Kidtopia and Infotopia–simply to ensure their search results are safe and appropriate. For the fifth and sixth grade, they are asked to utilize PebbleGo Next, which our district had purchased in the summer. This basic database designed for children has ‘science’ and ‘states’ sections, so it works wonderfully with their respective projects.
Of course they are learning about their topics through their research and work, but the skills I want them to truly perfect are responsible research and proper citation. These are educational building blocks that will stay with them through high school and higher education. And, within the first day of creating their Google Slideshows, most of my students already have a bibliography slide on which they are posting their resources. I am happy to see them become responsible students and researchers.