Teaching students about animal research reports is one of my favorite writing units! It’s the perfect combination of nonfiction reading and informational writing – all in one perfect unit of study!
I’ve got so much to share with you that I’m splitting this into two posts! You can find part two here!
Getting Started with Animal Research Reports
To begin, I try to teach nonfiction text features and research writing at the same time. It’s also perfect for reviewing main idea and details in informational texts.
First, I choose an animal that I think my students will enjoy learning about as our whole group focus. I collect as many books and articles on this animal to use during whole group mini-lessons.
When I introduce this to my students for the first time, we start a KWL chart. I make a big anchor chart sized KWL chart, and my students begin their own chart in a research booklet that they’ll use throughout the unit.
As we research, students write the facts learned in a little research booklet. These booklets help students keep track of all of the things they’ve learned. Especially with students who are just beginning to learn how to research, these booklets are extremely helpful.
Once we’ve studied and completed one animal research booklet together, I let students choose a different animal to try on their own!
I love these tabbed booklets because they are extremely helpful in getting students to write MULTIPLE, FOCUSED paragraphs. Students can take each section of the research booklet and turn it into a paragraph. By the end, they have 3-4 focused paragraphs, instead of one giant paragraph with a bunch of random facts.
I suggest pre-selecting 4-7 animals that your students can choose from. I have booklets made for polar animals, desert animals, rainforest animals, grassland animals, and ocean animals!
Why not grab a FREE polar bear research book to try with your students? Click the image below to get this FREE digital + printable booklet!
You can read more animal research tips in my part two blog post! I’ll show you how to use envelopes and index cards to teach students how to research! It’s a great way to teach elementary students how to research!