From there I had my students pick a population of animal they wanted to learn more about. We then set up our research folders. This is done with a piece of construction paper folded in half. I gave them the three research forms and they glued them in.
Here is the front cover:
I had the kids write the name of the animal in the center circle. Then they had to write down all the information they already know about that animal. At the end of the research, kids will go back to this circle map and add what they learned from their research. The circle will probably not be big enough to fit it all!
Here is the back cover of the folder:
Here they have to set their purpose for the research. We talk about how good researchers and readers have questions in their minds that they want to get answers to. This focuses their reading. Students write three I wonder questions down. The bottom portion of this sheet has a place for them to record their reference sources. They will use one nonfiction book, one encyclopedia and one online research site.
Here is the inside of the folder. They cut and glue the four headers to the top of the folder. These have the topic words: habitat, physical characteristics, diet, behavioral characteristics. Next they get their reference book and a stack of post it notes and begin reading and searching for information to place under the four categories.
I love the New True Books for reference. They are easy enough for kids to understand and have all of the nonfiction text features we have been learning about.
The kids will be writing a paragraph for each of the four topics so they need to get enough details under each. They write words, phrases and short sentences that support the main idea. I like using post its because we can manipulate the facts and move them around when we go to writing the paragraph. Some details belong together and can be combined to make a sentence.
I added questions to think about under each category to guide their reading and thinking.
Kids have enjoyed learning about their animals! There are many great websites out there that are third grade friendly. I love Enchanted Learning because they include a great diagram of the animal with captions. We've had great luck with National Geographic for Kids as well.
Are you interested in having your students work through a similar animal research activity?
I have included this set in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Click the link below to check it out!