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Photo by: The Great Illustrated Encyclopedia

Photo by: Chris Manos (2017)

Parents or Guardians,

We have had a fun month learning how to conduct research using multiple sources. This last month your student has become an expert on one of the many animals we have studied in this unit. For the purpose of the assighment the class was divided into 10 groups, and each group was assigned to research one animal. The animals that the students studied included the prairie dog, red fox, cottontail rabbit, Coyote, beaver, red tailed hawk, tigar salamander, badger, bobcat, and striped skunk. To effectively research this animal we learned how you student them using multiple sources. Each week we learned how to use a new source and collected more evidence to become experts. The final week was dedicated to creating posters to display our new found knowledge. 


Week One:

For the first week of our projects we learned how to conduct our research on our expert animals through observation. Each group was given a portfolio with images of their expert animal and was able to watch a series of videos. While, they looked at the images and watched the video they took notes on what the animal looks like. By the end of the week all the students could accurately describe the physical features of their expert animals. 


Here are some of the images they observed to learn what their animal looked like:




Photo by: Don Bebold

Photo by: Fiona Sunquist

Photo by: Tom Vezo

Continuing our research

Week 2:

 Now that we have discovered what our expert animals look like, and have watched videos to see how they move about the earth, It was time for us to deepen out knowledge of our expert animals. For week two of this project our students conducted their research using a variety of internet sources. To begin this section I made sure each student knew what a reliable source was, and how to find reliable sources. They also learned how to find information that pertained to what they were looking for, so they weren't bombarded with information that was not useful to their research. To guide their research we had students looking for sources that told them what their expert animal ate, where they lived, what their shelter was like, etc. Students were also supposed to find one interesting fact about their expert animal. By the end of the week the students knew how to accurately find information on the internet, and they learned a lot more about their expert animal.


Week 3:

Week 3 was the last week of actual research. The students already had a learned a great deal about their expert animals, and it was time to learn about the defense mechanism of each animal (what they do to protect themselves). For this week we conducted our research by studying our animals in the book "Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses." The students became experts on how each animal protects itself when a predator is around. On top of this they learned how to use the glossary and index of the book. By the end of the week each student had learned a lot more about their animals, but more importantly, they learned how to find information in written text when conducting research. 

The Final Week & the Final Project

Now that your student has become an expert, they were asked to create individual poster projects on their animals. This is where the students were able to demonstrate all the knowledge they have gained from their research. Enjoy looking at some of these best in show projects created by our students! They all did such a great job and have learned a lot about their animals, and how to conduct research. I challenge you to quiz them on all they have learned. You may be surprised with how much they know about their animals, and will understand why I now call them experts!!