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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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

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