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animal research project 4th grade
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Animal Research Report Project - 3rd, 4th , 5th grade (Common Core aligned)
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Animals Research Project Activity Organizer Template 3rd 4th 5th Grades
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4th Grade Animal Research Project
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Close Reading 3rd, 4th , 5th Grade Non Fiction Passages: Nocturnal Animals
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Animal Structure and Processes Activity WebQuest Research Project Adaptations
Close Reading 3rd, 4th , 5th Grade Non Fiction Passages: Arctic Animals
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Animal Research Project
List of animals to research.
- Boa Constrictor
- Brown/Black Bear
- Great White Shark
- Firefly/lightning bug
- Walking Sticks
- Praying Mantis
4th Grade Animal Research Project
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Animal Research Project for Kids at the Elementary Level in 2023
Whether you are doing a simple animal study or a fully integrated science, reading, and writing unit, this animal research project for kids includes everything you need. From the graphic organizer worksheets and guided note templates to the writing stationary, printable activities, projects, and rubrics.
Thousands of teachers have used this 5-star resource to have students complete self-guided animal research projects to learn about any animal they choose. The best part is, the resource can be used over and over again all year long by just picking a new animal! Learn all about this animal research project for kids at the elementary level below!
What is the Animal Research Project?
The animal research project is a resource that is packed with printable and digital activities and projects to choose from. It is perfect for elementary teachers doing a simple animal study or a month-long, fully integrated unit. It’s open-ended nature allows it to be used over and over again throughout the school year. In addition, it includes tons of differentiated materials so you can continue to use it even if you change grade levels. Learn about what’s included in it below!
What is Included in the Animal Research Project
The following resources are included in the animal research project :
The teacher’s guide includes tips and instructions to support you with your lesson planning and delivery.
The parent communication letter promotes family involvement.
There are graphic organizers for brainstorming a topic, activating schema, taking notes, and drafting writing.
There are research report publishing printables including a cover, writing templates, and resource pages.
There is a grading rubric so expectations are clear for students and grading is quick and easy for you.
The research activities include a KWL chart, can have are chart, compare and contrast venn diagram, habitat map, vocabulary pages, illustration page, and life cycle charts.
Animal Flip Book Project
There are animal flip book project printables to give an additional choice of how students can demonstrate their understanding.
Animal Flap Book Project
There is an animal flap book project printables that offers students yet another way to demonstrate their learning.
Animal Research Poster
The animal research poster serves as an additional way to demonstrate student understanding.
The resource includes poetry activities to offer students an alternative way to demonstrate their learning.
There is a digital version of the resource so your students can access this resource in school or at home.
Why Teachers love the Animal Research Project
Teachers love this animal research project because of the following reasons:
- This resource guides students through the research and writing process, so they can confidently work their way through this project.
- It is a great value because it can be used over and over again throughout the school year because the pages can be used to learn about any animal.
- It offers several ways students can demonstrate their learning.
- It includes a ton of resources, so you can pick and choose which ones work best for you and your students.
- It is printable and digital so it can be used for in-class and at-home learning.
This animal research packet is great because it can be used over and over again using absolutely any animal at all. The printables in this packet are ideal to use with your entire class in school, as an at-home learning extension project or as a purposeful, open-ended, independent choice for your students who often finish early and need an enrichment activity that is so much more than “busy work.”
The Research Report Process
This animal research project packet was designed in a manner that allows you to use all of the components when studying any animal. Because the printables can be used over and over, I will often work through the entire researching and writing process with the whole class focusing on one animal together, This allows me to model the procedure and provide them with support as they “get their feet wet” as researchers. Afterwards I then have them work through the process with an animal of choice. You may find it helpful to have them select from a specific category (i.e. ocean animals, rainforest animals, etc) as this will help to streamline the resources you’ll need to obtain.
Step 1: Brainstorm a list of animals to research. Select one animal.
During this stage you may want to provide the students with a collection of books and magazines to explore and help them narrow down their choice.
Step 2: Set a purpose and activate schema.
Students share why they selected the animal and tell what they already know about it. Next, they generate a list of things they are wondering about the animal. This will help to guide their research.
Step 3: Send home the family letter.
To save you time, involve families, and communicate what is happening in the classroom, you may want to send home a copy of the family letter. It’s so helpful when they send in additional research materials for the students.
Step 4: Research and take notes.
The two-column notes template is a research-based tool that helps the kids organize their notes. I added bulleted prompts to guide the students in finding specific information within each category. This method has proven to be highly effective with all students, but is especially useful with writers who need extra support.
I have included two versions of the organizers (with and without lines). I print a copy of the organizer for each student. I also copy the lined paper back to back so it is available to students who need more space.
Step 5: Write a draft.
Using the information gathered through the research process, the students next compose drafts. The draft papers were designed to guide the students through their writing by providing prompts in the form of questions. Answering these questions in complete sentences will result in strong paragraphs. It may be helpful to give them only one page at a time instead of a packet as it make the task more manageable.
Step 6: Edit the draft.
Editing can be done in many ways, but it is most effective when a qualified editor sits 1:1 with a student to provides effective feedback to them while editing.
Step 7: Publish.
Print several copies of the publishing pages. I like to have all my students start with the page that has a large space for an illustration, but then let them pick the pages they want to use in the order they prefer after that. I have them complete all the writing first and then add the illustrations.
Finally, have the children design a cover for the report. Add that to the front and add the resources citation page to the back. Use the criteria for success scoring rubric to assign a grade. The rubric was designed using a 20 point total so you can simply multiply their score by 5 to obtain a percentage grade. The end result is a beautiful product that showcases their new learning as well as documents their reading and writing skills.
In closing, we hope you found this animal research project for kids helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:
- How to Teach Research Skills to Elementary Students
- 15 Animals in Winter Picture Books for Elementary Teachers
- How to Teach Informative Writing at the Elementary Level
- Read more about: ELEMENTARY TEACHING , INTEGRATED CURRICULUM ACTIVITIES
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Writing Unit of Study: Animal Research Project
This free animal research project will provide you with a writing unit of study that will help you build excitement about writing informational text in your classroom.
You can download this free animal research project to help your writers develop their research and writing skills.
This project will be a great fit for your first, second or third grade writing workshop.
This is another free resource for teachers and homeschool families from The Curriculum Corner.
Why should I introduce my students to research through animal study?
Animal research can be a great topic for writing informational text because students tend to be curious about animals.
Nothing seems to spark interest in most kids like learning about animals in our world. Turn their enthusiasm into an engaging animal research writing project.
They can take the time to learn about different habitats and diets.
You can also encourage students to expand their vocabulary by having them create a glossary to accompany their writing.
About this animal research project
Within this post you will find over 30 pages of anchor charts, mini-lesson ideas, writing planners and graphic organizers.
The unit will help guide your students through the complete process. In the end, you will be helping to teach your students how to write their own pieces of informational text.
The intended end product for students is an animal booklet that they can staple together to share with others.
Students who are ready for more advanced work, can create a larger project with less direction.
A description of the mini-lessons
Lesson 1: introduction.
- Begin the unit by having the students brainstorm a list of animals that they might see everyday.
- Then, have them brainstorm a list of animals they see when they visit the zoo or walk in the forest. You can do this on the blank anchor chart provided or on cart paper.
- Another option is to place students in groups. They could work to create a list together.
- You might assign each group a continent and have them find animals that live there.
- Pull the class together and have each group share what animals they found that live on their continent.
Lesson 2: Noticings
- Next you might want to get your students familiar with common characteristics about informational texts that teach about animals.
- Have them work in pairs or small groups to go through some books and record their “noticings” about the writing.
- Then come together in a community circle to discuss those noticings and create a class anchor chart.
Lesson 3: Opinion vs. Facts
- Before getting truly into this unit, you might need to conduct a lesson on opinions vs. facts.
- After a brief discussion you can use the giraffe paragraph provided in our resources to give your students some practice differentiating between the two. This paragraph contains both opinions and facts.
- With your class read through the paragraph and record facts and opinions on the T-chart.
- Discuss both sides and how they are different from each other.
- A black & white copy of this giraffe paragraph has also been provided. You can have them work in pairs or groups to distinguish between the facts and opinions.
- If you need more resources for your students surrounding fact & opinion check out our Fact & Opinion Sort .
Lesson 4: Choosing a Topic for the Animal Research Project
- We want to help students to narrow their topic choices by giving them some guidance.
- Gather students and begin a discussion about choosing an animal research topic.
- For this lesson we have provided two pages where students can individually brainstorm the animals they are interested in.
- You might have students work in groups or independently to make their choice. Conference with students as needed to help.
- Don’t shy away from letting more than one student research about the same animal. This can be a great way to promote group work. It might also help out with some of your literacy center choices throughout this unit.
Lesson 5: Good Places to Find Information about an Animal
- At this age we want students to begin to understand that all they read online about animals isn’t always true. Sometimes writing might sound true without being filled with facts.
- Show students two possible places to find information online about their animal. One should be a trusted site with reliable and accurate information. Another should be a site that perhaps a child has created. (There are many that you can find if you search.)
- Pose these questions: Is everything on the internet true? Why? How can you tell? Why is it important for your research writing to contain accurate information?
Lesson 6: Taking Notes
- Sometimes giving students resources and a blank sheet of notebook paper can be too overwhelming for them. Some students will copy word for word. Others might feel overwhelmed. We need to guide them to read and pull out facts & relevant information to use later in their writing.
- For this lesson we have provided four templates for note-taking that you might choose to use for your students.
- You might need to provide different organizers to students depending on their needs.
- You will want to model the organizers your students are use. Show them how to take notes as they read.
- After initial teaching, you may find that you need to pull small groups for extra practice. Others might benefit from a conference as you take a look at the notes they are taking.
Lesson 7: Word Choice in Research Writing
- To help students think about making their writing more interesting, have them brainstorm words about their animal.
- Together brainstorm words that would be appropriate for animals. They might add words about what they look like, their movement, their habitats, their life cycles, their diets, etc. You can create a class anchor chart on the page provided. You might even think about using the real life picture of the wolf in the download. This can get the students to begin thinking of more interesting words for animals (fierce, mighty, strong, etc).
- Then, pass out the individual brainstorm pages. Students can use the anchor chart as a guide to begin their own word choice pages about their animal. This might be a good partner activity as well.
Lesson 8: Writing Sketch for the Animal Research Project
- Next, you can model the writing sketch planner for your class.
- One idea to help your students narrow down all of the information they have learned about their animals is to give them a specific number of animals facts that they can focus on.
- Each of these facts can serve as the actual text that they will put on each page of their animal research book. Or the facts could serve as a focus for each paragraph in their writing.
- You might find that this would be a good mini-lesson to do with smaller groups of children.
Lesson 9: Creating a Table of Contents
- Another idea that can be a writing planner AND a page in their animal research book is the table of contents. Pull out one of the Table of Contents pages from the resources provided and model how to fill in the blanks on each page.
- This page will then serve as their Table of Contents (with a focus discussion on what that is and the purpose it serves) and also their writing planner so they know what they will put in the pages of their booklet.
Lesson 10: Creating a Glossary
- There are two pages provided in the resources that might help your students to learn to pull out topic specific words to put into a glossary for the end of their animal research book.
- Be sure to model how you would like for your students to use these organizers (keeping in mind that you may need to copy more than one page if there are more words than the page provides for).
- If your students need a refresher on ABC order check out these links for some added practice/review: ABC Order Task Cards & Fry Word ABC Order Task Cards
Lesson 11: Writing Your Animal Research
- You will decide on the best method for your students to showcase their published animal research.
- You may want your students to use their own creativity in the texts that they write and share. If you’d like a first experience to provide a bit more guidance, we have provided two different sets of pages for booklets.
- One is more guided and the other has less structure and smaller lines for more writing. 15 pages are provided so that you or students can pick what fits their needs.
- This “lesson” may actually become a series of lessons if you choose to model how each page can be used. (We have also included a page with simple writing lines in case students need less guidance than the booklet pages provided.)
Lesson 12: Labeling Pictures
- One final lesson idea that pairs well with writing informational text is to teach your students how to label pictures.
- Since most nonfiction writing has real photographs, students can find some pictures online to print out and label for their booklet. Hand-drawn pictures are also great if you would rather encourage some or all of your students in that direction.
- Whatever you choose, show your class how to effectively label a picture so that it teaches the reader more. You can use the picture of the polar bear provided to model how to add words or even short facts as labels. (For example if the simple label “fur” wouldn’t add additional information to the book, you might teach them to label it with a short fact such as “dense fur protects the animal’s skin from the weather”.
- To make this idea more user friendly, you might want them to use the page of blank white boxes provided to write their labels for their pictures. Then all they need to do is cut them out and glue them to a printed picture.
Lesson 13: Writing Celebration
As always, find a way to celebrate your students’ writing.
Invite guests (younger students or special adults) to read the books with your young authors. You might simply want to pair or group them, or some students might choose to present their book to everyone.
Provide some light snacks if possible to give it a party atmosphere and pass out the author certificates to each child for his/her hard work.
You can download this free writing unit of study here:
As with all of our resources, The Curriculum Corner creates these for free classroom use. Our products may not be sold. You may print and copy for your personal classroom use. These are also great for home school families!
You may not modify and resell in any form. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Julia de Vries
Wednesday 24th of November 2021
I created a google slide to go with this project. If you are interested and would like a copy of a digital student copy please use this link! https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KE_jkeMlhOWIPozjBNUzbw4CXYsONLca2GJ-JhjbJVs/copy
Saturday 8th of May 2021
Thank you so much for this resource and the many pages that I can use in my homeschooling. It is exactly what I've been looking for to help me get my kids to write about our animal units! You are doing a great job, keep up the amazing work you do. I appreciate the hard work you put into putting these together.
Planning a Dynamic Writing Workshop - The Curriculum Corner 123
Saturday 14th of July 2018
[…] Animal Research […]
Editable Writing Management Binder - The Curriculum Corner 123
Friday 3rd of March 2017
[…] Writing Unit of Study: Animal Research […]
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Fourth Grade Sample Lesson
In fourth grade, children become more curious about the world and their place in it. As a division between rational thought and imaginative thought begins to arise, they develop a new way of seeing, learning, and understanding their experiences and environment. The study of animals—those of the world around them, rather than those of fairy tales or fables—provides the opportunity for the students to develop a conscious connection to the natural world and its inhabitants and serves as an introduction to the subject of science.
RESEARCH PROJECT: Animal Report & Diorama
The Animal Project is a month-long block that challenges fourth graders to study an animal of their choice, and in doing so learn how to conduct research, organize ideas and facts, and write a report. The final component of the project is the construction of a diorama, depicting their animal in its habitat.
• Written report • Drawing(s) of animal • Diorama of animal in its natural environment • Presentation
You may also include any/all of the following: • A Day in the Life written by your animal using our alphabet and language • Papier Mache life-sized or to-scale model of your animal • Poem about your animal that gives a sense of how it is unique • Costume and mask for you to wear as your animal • Performance of your animal: moving and vocalizing as your animal in your costume.
Choosing an Animal
If you choose a local animal, you may be able to see it outside! Because this is a home project, I give you permission to choose any animal you wish, but be sure to choose an animal that you want to explore very thoroughly.
Once you have decided on your animal, your parents and I will find information to read for your report. Using three or more articles, you will take notes on facts about your animal. You may not do online research on your own. Online magazines and websites can be researched by me and your parents and then you may read them from paper copies. Read as much as you can about your animal!
Information categories to research and include:
- I. Description of the animal:
- • Name of animal and family that it belongs to (example: Tiger – large cat family)
- • Physical description: size, number and type of legs, if any, color, the type of body covering they have (feathers, hair, scales…), special characteristics (example: elephants have long trunks and big fan-like ears)
- • Type of movement (it flies, swims, slithers, runs, jumps….) and quality of movement (Is it a fast runner, an agile leaper, a slow wanderer?)
- II. Description of how the animal lives:
- • Where in the world it lives and what it is like there (terrain, plants, land, weather)
- • What it eats
- • How it gets its food and how it eats
- • Family life: does it lay eggs, give birth to live young? What kind of parent is it? (Does it leave or stay with its young, does it raise its young? Who lives together, who lives alone? How big are groups your animal likes to be with?)
- • Include anything else you think is wonderful and/or important about your animal. Make your animal your companion in your thoughts, See if you can imagine your way into how it feels to be your animal, moving through the day, resting, hunting, keeping off the flies, playing in the trees. Imagine your tail!
- III. Relationship to humans, other animals, and the earth:
- • Who are its predators?
- • What relationship does this animal have to humans? (Do they eat it, have them in zoos, hunt them, raise them?)
- • Does this animal help or harm the earth? (Does it destroy plants, help keep the rodent or insect population down, provide beauty, etc.)
- IV. Describe the things you found the most interesting about your animal
- V. Illustration of your animal for your report (this can be a drawing or painting) This illustration should be one full page (for the cover) and/or you can do smaller illustrations throughout the report showing the habitat, home, family life, predators, etc.
Once you have collected your facts, you will organize them into the written report. Read our instructions for How to Write a Research Paper . Your reports should be composed of paragraphs organized by topic. I will send a sample as needed. These reports should be 2 pages in length: this is a big project!
See the sample of this student’s diorama.
SEE MORE SAMPLE LESSONS
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