|  About ESIP  ||  Books & Beyond  ||  Classroom Connections  ||
Questions are the loom upon which information gathering, analysis and presentation is woven. Questions give information shape, design, and pattern. Where do questions come from and how do you know when you've got one?
There are several obvious and readily available sources for such queries:
Read aloud-Think aloud: By modeling curiosity and question-posing, a teacher can offer students a new way of thinking. The more explicit the teacher can be about his/her thinking processes, the better: "When I look at this picture of children playing in the wind, I think of the wind near our school. It always seems strongest to me over near Ms. Foster's room." or "I wonder what the author means when she says..." or "Wait, this seems different than what I read in book X. I wonder how to decide which author to believe."
The Question Board is a place students can go to at any time to jot down a curiosity or wondering. These questions can be gathered and sorted -- testable? subject to library research? best served by observation and note-taking? They can also be mined for writing ideas and debates.
Class meetings provide a perfect forum for juxtaposing one understanding against another. This is where students learn to build on each other's curiosities and where the teacher has an opportunity to prompt students to compare data.
Once your students have a good idea of the question they want to investigate, they should think about what they already know, what they’re curious about and what resources they might want to use. By activating prior knowledge students are already beginning to make connections between previous learning experiences and the present investigation.
When a student is looking for a resource for gathering information, often an encyclopedia is the first and last stop. While an encyclopedia offers a brief overview of a wide variety of topics, other resources offer the opportunity for discovering different points of view, in-depth exploration of various aspects of a topic and various models of scientific writing.
While the following list of possible resources is not comprehensive by any means, it does offer a variety of primary (first hand information from the actual source) and secondary (information based on primary resources) resources to consider when continuing your research.Print Resources
* For more information about science related trade books, visit “Books and Beyond”.Primary Resources
+ Click here for information about evaluating and using internet resources for classroom research.
As you begin to gather resources for your research, keep in mind that using resources from multiple sources will afford you the best opportunity to achieve both breadth and depth in your research.
Now that you have selected some resources to support your continued research, this unit explores some ways for gathering information from those resources, including several note-taking strategies.
Brainstorm 3-5 questions related to your main question to use as an organizational strategy when gathering information.
Before introducing note-taking strategies, there are three issues to consider: how to take notes, the use of quotations in recording information, and how to cite sources. Mini-lessons that model these valuable skills and provide hands-on practice, using a variety of resources, will support students as they continue their information gathering.
Though every writer develops an individual style for taking notes, there are a few important tips to teach students:
Using quotations from both text and primary resources, such as interviews, is both effective and important in research. To help students begin to become familiar with the use of quotations, read aloud from science related trade books that weave quotations into the text and discuss how they work with the text. Use overheads of some of the quotations to teach the conventions of using quotation marks. Provide students with practice writing leads to introduce quotation marks within the context of their writing.
In preparation for note-taking, think about what bibliographic format you want your students to use (you may be able to work with your media specialist to co-teach a lesson on bibliographic references) and how you want them to keep track of their resources while taking notes. One technique is to have each student generate a list or make a note card for each of their resources and assign a number to it. As they take notes, they can reference the number in parenthesis with the information they have recorded from that source. They may also want to record the page number (a must for a quotation) so they can easily locate the information, if needed, at a later time.
Now you are ready to "dig" into your resources to continue your investigation. There are many ways to take notes as you are doing your research, and no single approach works for everyone or for every type of research question. The following note-taking strategies may help you get started with your information gathering and can form the basis for mini-lessons on introducing your students to different note-taking techniques.
Throughout the information gathering process, it is important to provide time for students to reflect on their notes and to begin to find their own voice in communicating what they have learned. It is usually best for students not to use their notes. Several ideas for achieving this are:
Before moving from active researching to writing about findings, there are a variety of ways to help students make sense of their information and identify missing links or questions that need further investigation. Some ideas include:
Once students have completed gathering information and data and have had time to review and revise their notes, the research process moves from collecting to crafting.
To support students as they begin this process, teach mini-lessons that focus on various aspects of non-fiction writing. Some possible topics include:
As they work on their writing, continue to confer with students on their process and the importance of rereading, rethinking and revising their composition. Revision is embedded throughout the research process- from choosing and narrowing a question, to revisiting resources to best support research, to revising notes and note-taking strategies while gathering information.
There are endless possibilities for students to present and/or publish their research in addition to the traditional "school report." We return to audience and purpose to consider some of those possibilities. Will the research be presented in person? in print? Does the student wish to include a demonstration or display artifacts of her research? Will the research be presented as part of a debate? Is the purpose of the research to share information or explain a procedure or method?
The following are just a few ideas to consider for sharing research:
o. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.