Fun Elementary Research Project for Winter
When the long days of winter begin to drag, it can be hard to get elementary students interested in a library research project! This one has a fun catalyst though. To begin, read the very funny book Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups by Tadgh Bentley. (You can hear me reading this book on my YouTube Channel — and it’s a good title to add to your library collection!)
The book’s main character is a frustrated penguin who tries to get the story audience to SCARE HIM (!!) — and thus — cure his hiccups. (Students will LOVE reading the BOOOOOO parts of this story!) As the book ends, allow your students to share their experiences with hiccups by going over my pre-research discussion questions. (I like to put my students in small groups for this part, so that more of them have a chance to share.) Then, introduce the research project, which will help students explore why our bodies get the hiccups from time to time.
Elementary Research Project to Explore Why People Hiccup
The mini-research project is broken down into six small tasks, which are detailed in the list above. As you plan how you would like to use the resource components, you’ll find that the tasks vary in difficulty. You can choose to have your students work individually, in pairs, or in small groups.
One approach to task 1 would be to have your students look at both fiction and nonfiction books that feature the human body in some way. Then, they can work together to sort the pictures on the T-chart.
You could utilize one of the tasks (numbers 2-5) to simply model the process of using a device and an online resource to find the answers to questions. Then, assign the other tasks to small groups.
Tip: I’ve also used task number 6 as a whole group “sub lesson” with students breaking into pairs afterward to complete the cartoon. (Task 6 involves viewing an episode of SciKids Show on YouTube and answering some hiccup questions.)
When I used this resource with my students, I always set up small groups and assigned different tasks to each one. (I’ve heard this called “the jigsaw method.”) Since this project usually took us two library time visits to complete, we would come back together at the end of the second class time, and each group would have a few minutes to share what they had discovered about hiccups.
Because hiccups are just naturally funny, AND/OR aggravating to most of us, I’ve found that this research project has always been a winner! It doesn’t require a huge time commitment, but it still offers a solid way to give elementary students an opportunity to practice:
— Reading the content within an online resource,
— Thinking about facts, and
— Sharing what has been learned.
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