> Library-O-Saurus: Introducing the Research Process - with a Coding Twist!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Introducing the Research Process - with a Coding Twist!

We are diving into the research process in third grade!

I've played around a lot in the past with teaching the research process, and it can be tricky. In my school, most 3rd and 4th grade classes do research projects with their teachers, but they don't go through allllll the steps of the research process. I think it's important to at least have a picture of what the research process looks like, so we do a little researchin' in third grade library!

My lessons are all built around a six-step framework, loosely based on the Big 6 Research Model. I like how it spends a lot of time and steps around searching for and evaluating information, and the circular model is definitely important to me - I want students to know that you aren't done when you've turned in the paper or made the presentation! We can always be researching!

Before I describe this year's lesson, let me just say: I used to introduce the research process by modeling it with the question "How do you make the best s'more?" The kids went through the process of deciding on sources (yes, I did make sure we had a s'mores recipe in a cookbook specifically for this lesson!), finding the right information within each source and putting them all together to decide on a perfect combination, and then - of course - evaluating the product! It was great and the kids loved it. Now, our district is very strict about including food as part of a lesson because there are so many allergies. So I had to come up with another way to engage kids in the six steps!

Introducing: Ozzie, the Ozobot Researcher!

This year, I started walking kids through the idea of the research process by skimming a graphic novel biography of Henry Ford. Henry Ford is a very familiar historical figure in metro Detroit, so they're all pretty much familiar with his story already, but I put it in the lens of research. Henry Ford defined a problem - cars were way too expensive to make! - and he had to locate and use sources of information, synthesize everything he learned, and evaluate the product before starting all over again until he had the Model T! As I skim through the book, I flip through a quick PowerPoint of the six steps and how he went through all of them.

Finally I re-introduced them to Ozzie, the Ozobot! We LOOOOVE Ozobots in my library-  they're a fun, stress-free way to introduce coding and they can be incorporated into lots of different lessons. This time, I explained, Ozzie has a problem: He REALLY wants hot cocoa, but he's got a problem. Ozzie is a robot, and has never made hot cocoa before. So he has to go through all the steps in the research process to create the best hot cocoa ever. Kids had to code Ozzie so he went to each step in the correct order, as well as fill in some blanks to help him along. They loooved it!

Now to dive into each step individually.. hopefully they will stay just as excited! :)

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