Learning proper research skills is very important, and elementary school is a fantastic time to learn the fundamentals of research!
Getting a head start on skills like evaluating information for trustworthiness, finding credible sources online, taking useful notes and citing sources is an invaluable use of class time that will benefit your students for the rest of their lives.
Get them started with any of these fun research projects and we promise that in just a few short years, their middle school teachers will be thanking you!
Whether your students are in kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd grade or 5th grade, kids from any grade level are sure to find these research projects fun and exciting to share with their peers.
Quick Tips to Help Your Students Conduct Research and Present Their Projects
Tips to Help Conduct Research
- Be specific when searching on Google. Asking specific questions about a topic can lead to finding the answers much more quickly.
- Keep a record of every resource used. Have your students copy the URL whenever they pull information from a website. This way they can credit the original source and avoid plagiarism.
- Make use of reputable sources. Provide your students with a list of reputable websites where they can easily find accurate information. Have them stay away from websites like Wikipedia that may provide inaccurate information.
- Go to the library! Nonfiction books are still an excellent way to find information about specific topics. Encourage them to check out books from the library that are related to their topic.
Tips to Help Present Projects
- Take deep breaths. If some of your kiddos are nervous about presenting, instruct them to take deep breaths and present slowly. If they try to rush, they are more likely to make mistakes.
- Practice, practice, practice! The best way to get better at presenting is to practice presenting! Make sure your students practice presenting their projects every night leading up to the big day.
- Make presentations as engaging as possible. Making use of humor, technology, colorful images, and body language can help make students’ presentations more engaging for their peers.
- Be respectful to the student who is presenting. For the students in the audience, make sure that they are quiet and attentive while someone else is presenting. Remind them to treat others the way they want to be treated.
English & Language Arts Research Projects
During this project, students will research where they came from by talking to one or more family members about their family history.
Remind them to take notes or record their interviews, paying special attention to topics like their family tree, important historical figures in their family, where their family has lived and which states and countries their family has visited.
Students will make a poster or write a report covering the topics they learned by talking with their family members. They will also write about what their biggest accomplishments are and what they hope to do with their lives.
Have your students choose or assign them a significant author from history or contemporary times. They will research the author by reading about them. Then, they will present what they’ve found to the rest of the class.
Student presentations can either be in the form of a poster or as a written report. This should cover where their author was born, where they grew up, what they’re known for writing and anything else that’s interesting about them.
If the author is still living and has a website, encourage your students to see whether there’s a contact form. Many authors are willing to answer questions from fans and students.
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Science Research Projects
Use this project to help your students learn about different types of bugs, such as arachnids and insects. This is a very good research lesson to start with because most kids are fascinated and excited by bugs, and there are literally millions of them to go around!
Assign each student a different bug to research and write about. Then, provide simple questions to spark their writing, like Where do they live? How big are they? What do they eat? and How many legs do they have?
Once every student has written about their bug, you can have them draw a picture to go along with it and publish their work into a classbook!
Assign students or have them choose a dinosaur to learn about. Be sure their research includes information like when it lived, where it lived, what it ate and what type of dinosaur it was. Then, they’ll present their findings to the rest of the class.
If more than one student researches the same dinosaur, make sure both students are reminded to look for unique facts that the other one may not find. Encourage your students to collaborate with each other to make sure their presentations are unique and interesting.
As students are learning about the solar system, teach them the planets’ relative positions, how days and years are calculated, as well as other information.
Have your students make a poster of the eight planets. The poster should include the approximate size and distance of the planets, but it can also show other facts of comparison, such as colors, chemical makeup, length of the planets’ years, etc.
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For this project, students will choose a planet or have one assigned to them. They will research their planet, taking note of information like how long a year and a day are on their planet, what the temperature is, what the surface of the planet is like and any other facts and points of interest they discover.
Have your students create a poster or brochure pretending to sell a house on their planet. They should include as many of the facts that they learned to make the house on that planet seem like a good deal.
Animals and Habitats
For this animal research project, your students will start with studying a habitat. Then, they’ll learn about the animals that live in the habitat. They should take notes and pay special attention to which animals live in the habitat and how they interact with other animals there.
Students will show what they’ve learned by drawing a poster of the habitat and giving a sample of the different animals that live there.
Encourage your students to show a complete food chain, starting with plants and moving all the way up to the predators that live within the habitat. You can assign a set number of facts for each plant and animal that need to be listed on the poster or see what they come up with.
Plant Life Cycles
This is a great time to help your students understand how agriculture and farming work and make the connection that all of the plants they eat once started out as tiny seeds like the ones you’ll be growing in your classroom.
Students will learn about how plants grow from seeds to sprouts to plants and get ready to repeat the cycle all over again.
Plant bean plants, grass seeds or anything else that’s easy to grow very quickly. Make sure to plant the seeds in a clear glass jar using a paper towel instead of dirt so the roots will be visible.
As the plants grow, have your students keep a small notebook with them to take notes about their plant, make guesses about what will happen next and draw illustrations of their plant’s progress.
This project is a perfect opportunity to create a classbook! You can compile your students’ notes and drawings into a single book and publish it.
Have your students begin by learning about different types of weather, such as rain systems and desert heat. Then, have them split into groups, so they can research assigned weather types in smaller groups.
Students will decide as a group how to present their type of weather to the rest of the class. They can do this as a typical presentation or they can be a little more creative and present the weather type in a song or dance.
As long as everyone has fun and learns something new about the different weather systems, it’ll be a success!
Students can build on what they’ve already learned about weather and use it as a jumping-off point for researching natural disasters.
They’ll learn how the weather types that they’re now familiar with can become triggers for more extreme weather events like tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.
Students can make posters showing how typical weather phenomena can turn into more dangerous weather systems and natural disasters.
Environmental Impacts of Pollution
Teach your students about different types of pollution, both in the water and the air. Help them learn the difference and understand what polluted water and air look like.
Ask them questions like How does pollution affect animals? What happens when pollution decreases? and What happens if pollution increases again?
Fill a jar with water and tell students to imagine it’s the ocean. Drip some different colors of food dye into the jar and tell the students to imagine it’s pollution.
Let them see how the dye spreads out from where it was dripped and how it will spread even further due to the ocean’s currents (stir the water with a popsicle stick). Ask the students if they think air pollution is the same or different.
Let your students choose or assign them a significant inventor from history. They will research the inventor by visiting the school library and learn about basic information from the inventor’s life.
This includes facts like when the inventor was born, where they lived during their important inventions and/or discoveries, what made them famous and why they’re still remembered today.
Students will write a research paper and/or present what they have learned to the class. Alternatively, students can go around the room introducing themselves as the inventor they researched and trading facts with classmates.
Once this activity is complete, you can compile all your students’ research papers into a classbook!
Social Studies Research Projects
Share with your students about different types of landforms (caves, rivers, cliffs, beaches, valleys, mesas, etc). Then, they’ll spend some time researching anywhere from one to three of these landforms in more detail.
Landforms and environmental features provide great subjects for a diorama. Whether you have your students create their diorama at home or in class, this provides a great opportunity for visual and interactive learning.
Once everybody’s diorama is finished, your students can walk around the classroom and take a look at their peers’ projects. You can even have them answer specific questions about each one.
Holidays Around the World
Students will start by learning about different holidays around the world. Then, they’ll choose a holiday they hadn’t heard of before and research it more deeply on their own.
While researching, students will take notes about their holiday with the goal of creating a holiday decoration to share with the class. They can use this as an opportunity to teach their peers about another culture from a different part of the world.
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History Research Projects
Let your students choose or assign them an ancient civilization to research. They will research their civilization’s society, leadership structure, art and notable structures. They will use this research to create a presentation to share with the class.
This subject matter is perfect for a group project, but it can also be done individually by assigning different aspects of the civilization to different students (i.e., one student is assigned “Society in Ancient Egypt” and another student is assigned “Leadership in Ancient Egypt,” etc).
Students will begin by learning about the history of the United States. Then, they will each choose or be assigned a different state and break off to individually research their state.
Each student will be responsible for presenting a short report paper to the rest of the class explaining everything they learned about their state. Some interesting things to include are when did their state become a state, official state animal, state mottos, etc.
Have your students choose a United States president and give a presentation about that president to the rest of the class. This will involve independent research, taking notes and writing a report (or filling in the answers to a set of prewritten questions).
Then, they can give their presentation while showing off a drawing they’ve made of their president or even dressing as their president!
Encourage your students to go beyond the usual facts and try to find at least one unique or scarcely-known piece of information for each president.
Publish Your Students’ Research Projects as a Classbook!
Studentreasures makes publishing your students’ work into a book easy! Simply collect the reports your students have written for any of the research project ideas listed above and get started with one of our FREE classbook publishing kits!
You’ll be on your way to teaching your students about the writing process while making a keepsake of your year together that they can look back on when they’re older.
Visit our website to learn more about how the process works and see how easily your students can become published authors! You can also check out our Teachers Lounge for helpful lesson plans and class resources.