In order to create a learning journey for 4th and 5th grade students (9–10 year olds), our science class worked in partnership with the school library, through the use of online bibliographic resources. The experience linked the process of learning about specific science topics to the development of research skills.
We taught our students how to go about the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Online School Edition, for a research activity. They were previously motivated and taught the structure of the research through the exploration of a subject (animal kingdom). They then planned the activity together and developed an Animal Fact Sheet with specific and curious information to look for. With a device and the Fact Sheet in their hands, they explored Britannica and had the chance to expand the research through the sites recommended in it, as well as other non-fiction links, adequate for kids.
They then practised electronic searching mechanisms and developed a searching behaviour by confronting and overcoming common attitudes and feelings like: astonishment (because of the beautiful and detailed visual resources), anxiety (because of the Internet vastness) and uncertainty (because of the different asseverations the sources have). They also acquired skills to select and summarise information, type URLs and apply common sense!
The experience ended with an oral presentation of the research. Besides this, as a final work, 4th graders were asked to invent a fantastic animal, with specific physical and behavioural adaptations which they were expected to explain. 5th graders created an animal anthology which is now available at the School Library!
@bdslibrary Science Teacher, Librarian – Buenos Aires, Argentina