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Earthmerlin

1st Research Project & How to Teach Those Skills

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I'd say to definitely start with super easy, below level books as sources for this project- that would be my main advice. It's a lot easier to learn to take notes and learn that process when you aren't struggling with material. Even as an adult, as researchers we usually start general/broad, and then go more specific/more technical as we accumulate knowledge. I encourage kids to do the same. It's almost impossible not to bog down if you start with some huge, over specific tome on the topic. 

I heard once on some podcast (wish I could remember which) an author discussing that before going into a topic, she first went to the library and actually started with picture books on the topic! Then worked her way up from there. I thought that was quite clever. 

Aside from that, I think 10 is really young to do a research paper. But that is in consideration of my kids, so maybe yours will be fine. I just know even at 12, at our house it was tough, with the outlining skills, and the note-taking skills all coming together. I ended up shelving it until high school as far as a formal paper. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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When my kids are that age, I print up 3 different articles on the same topic and walk them through taking notes from from each one. Then they create an outline synthesizing the information. Then they write their report.

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When I taught school my 4 th and 5 th graders regularly wrote short 5 paragraph research papers from 3 sources.  You’ll need to do a lot of hand holding and modeling.  Besides using choosing an easy topic and using resources below their grade level, I would narrow the research BEFORE you begin note taking.  Step one decide on topic and read one book (I like the picture book idea.) step 2: choose your sub topics. For example (an animal report is easy) habitat, physical description, and interesting facts.  Step 3: choose 3 excellent sources.  Step4 : take notes (iew experience is great for this.  They learn to take notes or key word outline early) I like to use 3 different pieces of color paper- one for each source and fold each paper into thirds.  Write the bibliographic info at the top of the page.  Write one subtopic in each column. Student takes notes from each source and puts the info in the correct column. (This is sooo much easier than notecards!!!) repeat for each source.  Step 5: outline/ organize each subtopic. ( I just had my kids number each note in the order they wanted to put the info) With one student you could scribe an outline) I would not expect a 4/5 grader to do this on their own.  Step 6: write body paragraphs one at a time. I’d make sure my kid knew how to write a solid paragraph before research writing  step 7: write intro and conclusion step 8: revise edit 9: publish. Some kids like pictures.  Have fun and choose something the child loves.  

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1 hour ago, SRoss5 said:

When I taught school my 4 th and 5 th graders regularly wrote short 5 paragraph research papers from 3 sources.  You’ll need to do a lot of hand holding and modeling.  Besides using choosing an easy topic and using resources below their grade level, I would narrow the research BEFORE you begin note taking.  Step one decide on topic and read one book (I like the picture book idea.) step 2: choose your sub topics. For example (an animal report is easy) habitat, physical description, and interesting facts.  Step 3: choose 3 excellent sources.  Step4 : take notes (iew experience is great for this.  They learn to take notes or key word outline early) I like to use 3 different pieces of color paper- one for each source and fold each paper into thirds.  Write the bibliographic info at the top of the page.  Write one subtopic in each column. Student takes notes from each source and puts the info in the correct column. (This is sooo much easier than notecards!!!) repeat for each source.  Step 5: outline/ organize each subtopic. ( I just had my kids number each note in the order they wanted to put the info) With one student you could scribe an outline) I would not expect a 4/5 grader to do this on their own.  Step 6: write body paragraphs one at a time. I’d make sure my kid knew how to write a solid paragraph before research writing  step 7: write intro and conclusion step 8: revise edit 9: publish. Some kids like pictures.  Have fun and choose something the child loves.  

 

4th grade is when my son started writing research papers, yes. And yes its a struggle. ANd yes to books below level when it comes to getting information out of them.

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For that age, I just have my kid read an article about whatever they are researching (or a portion of a book) and then basically write a narration. If capable, you could have her take notes from the source. I begin requiring more than one source closer to age 11-12, but that all depends on the ability of your student.

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1 hour ago, geodob said:

Perhaps her 1st research project, could be 'What is research'?

I would not follow this line of thought. That could be an overwhelmingly abstract concept for a young child. Research for a 9 yr old can be very simple and concrete and should be a clearly defined/narrowed topic. For example, bees is way too broad a topic for a project bc entire books are written on the topic. Assigning a topic like what are the different types ou f bees within a bee colony, otoh, makes what question to find the answers to clear. It helps the student stay focused and not wander off on topics like explaining pollination or honey production. You assist the student by asking them questions about whether what they are discussing answers specifically the narrowed topic.

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