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Researching an Inventor
Students will be able to conduct research and write an informative essay on an inventor of their choice.
- Write the word "research" on the board and ask students to help you create a concept map with any information they have on the topic of reseach. Record student responses around the word "research" and draw lines to connect the ideas.
- Tell students that today they will conduct research on a famous inventor, and write an informative essay about them.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Explain to students that to research something, is to read and discover information about one issue, topic, or person. When you conduct research, you must analyze the information you discover, and draw your own conclusions, with evidence to back up your claims.
- Tell students that conducting research is a fun activity, especially if the topic interests them. Connect the importance of research with the rest of their school careers, and into university. Tell them that it is essential for them to learn the steps of doing research and the proper way to use the sources they read.
- Distribute a copy of the Steps to Writing a Research Paper worksheet to each student, and display it on the document camera.
- Read aloud the teaching box at the top, and emphasize the importance of following certain steps to write a research paper.
- Have students take a couple of minutes to try to put the steps in order. Then, go over the steps as a class to clarify any misunderstandings.
- Explain that usually a research paper takes days or weeks to write, but for today, students will have a chance to do the whole process in a little over an hour.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Display a copy of the Research a Famous Inventor worksheet on the document camera.
- Explain that an inventor is a person who designs or builds something useful.
- Have students brainstorm inventions that are interesting to them (e.g., electricity, the wheel, the telephone, the computer). If students are unsure of an invention to look up, tell them that later on you will provide them with websites that showcase many inventors (see related media).
- Model on the computer and projector how to look up the name of the inventor of the object. Be sure to use student-friendly search engines.
- Use Ruth Wakefield (the inventor of chocolate chip cookies) as an example, and fill out the graphic organizer with information from the webpage (see related media).
- On a piece of lined paper, write a brief research paper, using the graphic organizer as your guide. Model your thought process about how to write the paper by thinking aloud. Remind students that this essay is just the rough draft.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Hand out the Research a Famous Inventor worksheet to each student. Assign students to work, either with a partner or on their own, on a computer or tablet to research an inventor. If you have access to a class or school library, encourage students to search for books on the inventor they are researching.
- Guide students to take pertinent notes from the pages they read, and write them on their graphic organizer.
- Circulate to offer assistance.
- Have students complete a paragraph frame using the sections from the graphic organizer (instead of writing an essay on their own).
- Print out relevant pages from a website or make copies of pages of a book, and scaffold where to highlight important information to include in their graphic organizer and essay.
- As a follow-up activity, have students edit and revise each others' research papers so they are ready to be published.
- As a challenge activity, have students conduct research on a different topic, and document their learning progress before they draft their informative essay.
- If time permits, have students type their essays using a computer. Have them draw illustrations and a book cover to add to their essay.
- Distribute lined paper or writing journals to students, along with a copy of the Informative Writing Rubric. Go over the rubric so students are aware of the aspects of a strong informative essay.
- Instruct them to write an informative essay using the notes they took from their research. Remind students to spend a few minutes reviewing the information they gathered prior to writing their essay.
- Use their final essay as an assessment to gauge their understanding of how to use web/book sources to research an inventor and write an informative paper.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Invite student volunteers to read their essay aloud. Instruct students who are listening to name two things they learned from their peer's research essay.