Lesson plan

Harness Your Research Skills

Kids are naturally curious! Use this lesson to inspire them to research a topic they are interested in. Students will use a graphic organizer to take notes on various sources and present their information to their peers.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to conduct research and present their information on a topic of their choice.

(5 minutes)
My Research Notes
  • Ask students to describe a time they became interested in a topic (e.g., baseball, dancing, Greek mythology, baking cupcakes). Ask them to describe what they did to learn more about the topic. Record student answers.
  • Explain to students that one can conduct research when they are curious about a topic and want to learn more about it. Tell students that ResearchCan be done by reading various sources, conducting interviews, or giving surveys to people who are connected to the topic you are researching.
  • Tell students that today they will choose a topic that interests them. They will conduct research on the topic, take notes and record the sources of information, and present the research to their classmates.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students turn to a partner and brainstorm topics that interest them using this sentence frame: "I would like to learn more about ____Because ____." Remind them that they can research a person, a place, a sport, a historic event, an animal, or any topic that interests them.
  • On a piece of chart paper, invite students to share some of their topic ideas from the discussion with their partner. Write down the list of topics students mention.
  • Choose one of the topics from the student-generated list to model your research on.
  • Model how you research the topic using the classroom, school library, or the internet.
  • Display the My Research Notes worksheet on the document camera, and read the directions aloud. Demonstrate how to take notes and cite the sources of information. Be sure to use student-friendly search engines. It is not necessary to complete the entire worksheet, just show how to extrapolate information from a couple of sources.
  • Emphasize the importance of trying a variety of search terms when you type into a search engine. For example, if you are researching South Africa, try typing "typical South African food" or "things to do in South Africa."
(20 minutes)
  • Strategically place students into partnerships that will work well.
  • Distribute the My Research Notes worksheet to each student, and instruct them to choose a topic to research that interests them Both.
  • Explain that they are to each research the topic on their own, and fill out the worksheet. Remind students to properly cite the sources. Then, they will collaborate with their partner and compare notes.
  • Each pair of students should discuss how they wish to present their research to the class. It could be a poster, a slideshow, or an essay.
  • Assist students who need guidance through this process.
(20 minutes)
  • Check in with each group to determine the format they will use to present their information. Approve each pair's presentation format and provide them with the materials necessary to prepare their presentation.
  • Allow students ample time to work together on their presentation.
  • Instruct students to practise giving the presentation.


  • Print out relevant pages from a website or make copies of pages of a book. Work with a pair of students to highlight important information to put into their graphic organizer and presentation.


  • Students who are strong independent workers may choose to complete the project on their own.
  • Students could partake in a research project that takes multiple class periods to have the chance to become an expert on a particular topic, and later teach their classmates.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students present their research, in whatever format they chose, to you and their classmates (time permitting).
  • Remind students of the importance of speaking clearly and confidently when presenting their infomation.
  • Each pair of students should equally present the information they gathered in their research.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute scratch paper to each student.
  • Ask students to answer the following question on the piece of scratch paper: What was one fact you learned in your classmates' presentations that was the most interesting to you?
  • Have students crumple up their paper, throw it in the middle of the rug area, pick up another classmate's paper, and take turns reading the answers aloud.

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