Teach Research Skills to Middle Schoolers - How to Help Students Conduct Research for Projects

Research projects help students develop important social and academic skills. Here is a lesson plan to guide middle school students to research an environmental topic. Now that most classrooms around the country have several computer stations available for students, student research is more popular than ever. Teaching students valuable research skills in middle school serves a variety of beneficial purposes. Students who learn to conduct research using both online and print sources will improve their ability to analyze, synthesize, and independently problem-solve. These are valuable skills all middle school students need to develop as they prepare for high school.

Teach Research Skills to Middle Schoolers - How to Help Students Conduct Research for Projects

The following research activity lesson plan worked out by the best essay writer guides students through the process of researching topics about the environment. Students will explore a variety of environmental topics and then decide on one to study in-depth. The unit question students are asked to consider while conducting research is as follows: "How do I impact my environment?" While the unit question can be adapted to meet the needs of any specific classroom, students must make connections between their research and the real world.

Students Brainstorm for Research Topics

Teachers should instruct students to try a variety of brainstorming methods. They can dedicate a section of their notebooks to research and include all brainstorming within that section. Here are some brainstorming suggestions to help energize student research.

First, students can jot down their thoughts about environmental topics. Some options include green living, organic food, endangered animals, air or water pollution; causes or effects of global warming, alternative energy, hybrid cars, ecovillages, eco-friendly design, and green building techniques. Students should not limit themselves to the obvious choices; instead, they should try to find one that captivates them. Once they have identified several topics, they should scour magazines or surf the Internet to find out more about these topics and make a list in their notebooks identifying specific topics which pique their interest.

Alternatively, students can create a graphic organizer to explore topics and their relationships. This can be in the form of a word web, a concept map, or a cause/effect chart. The students can even ask someone to “help me write my essay” and fulfill this kind of task. The format of the organizer is much less important than the ideas students generate. Teachers can encourage students to focus on the interrelationships among ideas.

Another brainstorming option for students is to write several questions related to the environment about which they are curious. They can create a two-column chart in their notebook. One side can list thoughts and observations they have about a topic, and the other side can list questions related to those thoughts. Students can select specific questions to share with the class by writing them in a designated space on the whiteboard.

Students Identify a Topic

Once students have explored several topics about which they are passionately interested, they should make a “shortlist” and study it intently. By considering the following questions related to each topic, they can select one to study in-depth.

  • Does this topic have meaning for me or my community?
  • Is this topic widely known to the public?
  • Are there sufficient resources about this topic for me to investigate?
  • Do organizations already exist which promote this topic?

After students answer these questions related to several topics, they should find one topic that is best suited for their close investigation. Students should write this topic in their notebooks.

Once students identify one topic to research further, they should research this topic from a variety of perspectives. While they should conduct extensive online research about their topic, even those students, who use write my paper services, should also read pertinent magazine articles and also scan the newspaper for current issues related to their topics. Students should take ample notes in their notebooks, always citing the sources from which the information originates.

Teachers should present research as an ongoing process, one that never really ends. The investigation will naturally cause students to formulate new questions, which in turn can be answered through further research. Therefore, teachers should set time parameters so that students know when to conclude their research and move on to the next stage of their research projects, whether they be writing an individual research paper or joining in a collaborative group project.

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Teach Research Skills to Middle Schoolers - How to Help Students Conduct Research for Projects