Lesson plan

Research: Where to Find the Answers

This lesson introduces students to a variety of resources that they can use when doing research. It will also help them differentiate between print and digital sources and how to use each.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theFact & Opinion Statements with AdjectivesPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theFact & Opinion Statements with AdjectivesPre-lesson.
  • Students will identify print and digital sources and successfully use them to find information.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
My Research Notes
  • Explain to your students that they are going to Research, or investigate, a question.
  • On the board, create a class brainstorming list of all the resources that can be used to look up information. For example, students can use an encyclopedia, read books, and search for information online.
(25 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that when researching, there are two main categories of sources that people use to access information: PrintAnd Digital. Explain that print sources have information that is found on paper, while digital sources have information that is found online or through an electronic device.
  • Give an example of a family that gets lost while on a trip.
  • Tell your students that the family could use a map, which is a print source, or a GPS device, which is a digital source.
  • Read your class a short book from your school library about a specific breed of dog. For example, find a book on golden retrievers.
  • Then, go online to the American Kennel Club website (see related media), and look up the same breed of dog.
  • Help your students recognise the similarities and differences in the two sources, and discuss why they should use multiple sources when doing research.
(20 minutes)
  • Ask your students to choose a state and and work with a partner to read about the state in a print source, such as a book about Florida.
  • Have your students take notes on paper, and direct them to identify important pieces of information about the states, such as the events leading up to becoming part of the United States of America.
(20 minutes)
  • Direct your students to access a computer or tablet. Have them search for their state online and select at least three articles to read and record important information.
  • Ask your students to combine the information they found from both the print and digital sources. Make sure they have at least three facts from each.


  • Give your students specific websites to look for information and possible sentence starters to help guide their notetaking. For example, they can use the 50 States website (see related media).


  • Have your students create either a print or digital brochure that has facts about the states they researched.
  • In this lesson, your students will use computers or tablets to find information.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate the room, and make sure that your students are writing facts, not opinions, about their states.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following words on index cards: "book," "magazine," "map," "encyclopedia," "newspaper," "GPS," "computer," "tablet," and "internet." Write one word per card, and make four sets of these index cards.
  • Divide your students into four groups, and give each group a set of cards.
  • Designate the front of the room for print sources and the back of the room for digital sources.
  • Have groups do a relay to get all of the index cards to the correct place.
  • Check to make sure that all cards are in the correct place and discuss any misunderstandings.

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