School; Choose Your View Chalkboard of 10 Big Ideas
Your View
10 Big

Big Idea Four: Research

Theoretical Rationale

  An HTML white paper on "Why." Research on the Internet introduces a host of new considerations that any conscientious researcher will have to face in conducting research of some quality. Students who gain experience in conducting research on the Internet will be better equipped to face these issues than students who have not had any exposure to the possibilities and issues associated with Internet research.


  1. Fat Counting Unit

    The food we eat contributes to our heath and well-being. This unit encourages students to consider the foods that they eat in relation to the food pyramid, to keep track of how much fat they consume in a fat diary, and to compare their intake of fat with that of other students around the country.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction to the Food Pyramid. This lesson uses traditional and on-line resources to introduce students to health and food issues, via the food pyramid.

    2. Lesson Two: Counting Fat in Our Diet. Students take home a fat diary and keep track of the fat in the foods they eat over a week. Parents can work with students to calculate the amount of fat in their diet.

    3. Lesson Three: Classroom Comparison of Fat Intake. Students bring in their fat diaries and work in pairs to calculate their average fat intake per day during the week that data is collected. Following this, the whole class gathers to calculate their total fat intake and average fat intake per student per week and per day. Each student can compare his/her average and total fat intake with those of other students in the class, and this can lead to a discussion of eating habits and possible changes to food intake.

    4. Lesson Four: Sharing Classroom Fat Data with Other Students. Following their data collection, students can post their results to a Website or via e-mail to share and compare with other students around the country or world.

  2. What's for Dinner? Unit

    In this unit, students will conduct Internet searches to find recipes for appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts that appeal to them. They will then plan (and, optionally, cook) a dinner for their families or friends. Students will report on their dinners and compile their menus into a class Web cookbook.

    1. Lesson One: Selecting and Analyzing Recipes. Students use the Web and other resources provided to select several recipes to combine into a menu they can cook for their families at home.

    2. Lesson Two: Planning and Shopping for the Menu. Taking into consideration the number of people they plan to serve and the amount of money they have to work with, students plan their menus in preparation for buying the appropriate amounts of the necessary ingredients at the grocery store.

    3. Lesson Three: Creating a Web Cookbook. Students report briefly on their experiences shopping and cooking dinner for their families. Students use HTML editing software to write their menus, including suggestions based on their own experiences cooking them, cultural and social context for the recipes, and pictures or graphics if they choose.

  3. Earth Day Trash Survey Unit

    As part of Earth Day clean up activities, students will inventory the types of garbage that they picked up and generate statistics on what they found. Students will then develop a survey to be distributed to other classrooms to see what type of garbage they were most likely to find.

    1. Lesson One: Earth Day Participation. Students participate in their local area's Earth Day activities. As students collect trash they keep track of the types of articles they pick up. At the end of Earth Day activities, students aggregate their data to develop whole-class statistics of what they found.

    2. Lesson Two: Survey Development and Distribution. Based on the data they gathered during their clean-up activities, students will develop a questionnaire to distribute to other schools. Surveys may take the form of an e-mail questionnaire or a Web page with forms that visitors fill out.

    3. Lesson Three: Data Analysis. When students have received data from their questionnaires, they analyze the data and prepare a report to be distributed to those who participated. Distribution may occur either via e-mail or through a report published on a Web page.

    4. Lesson Four: Trash Action. After students have created their final report, they will develop action plans to prevent trash from becoming a problem in the future. One example might be if students find high levels of fast-food garbage in their collections, they may choose to contact local and national fast-food restaurant owners to ask them for help in the fight against trash.

  4. Revisiting Pocahontas Unit

    Students will engage in a critique of the historical and cultural accuracy of the Walt Disney film, Pocahontas. After viewing the film, students will undertake research using both text and web resources to gather information about the accuracy of he film. Students will work in research teams to carry out their investigations, each team will focus on a separate question of accuracy. Students will share their findings with the class and complete projects that synthesize the information gathered by the class as a whole.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction. Students will discuss what makes a valid historical resource.

    2. Lesson Two: Pocahontas as a Resource. Students will view the film and write guided responses in journals. Journal responses will be shaped by a set of questions that students will use through out the unit to evaluate resources they use. Students will begin to identify possible inconsistencies in the film.

    3. Lesson Three: Evaluating Pocahontas. Students will begin their research using both web and library resources. Students will work in teams to address specific concerns about the movie. This stage of the unit will most likely take several class periods to complete.

    4. Lesson Four: The Merits of Pocahontas Examined. Student research teams will report their findings. Students will take notes on their classmates' findings and incorporate the results in their final projects.

  5. Severe Weather Unit

    The Severe Weather Patterns unit consists of a series of related lessons that form a comprehensive study of dangerous weather patterns in the United States. The Internet provides a wealth of resources on weather, including sites dedicated to tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe weather patterns. Students visit these sites and research severe weather phenomrna of interest to them. As part of this unit, local weather data is collected daily and posted to a collaborative weather site on the Web, and the students develop (or review) a severe weather action plan for their school.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction to Severe Weather Patterns. This lesson uses traditional and/or on-line resources to introduce students to basic weather terminology and background information on wind, storms, clouds, rain, etc.

    2. Lesson Two: Choose a Severe Weather Pattern. Students select a specific severe weather pattern to research based on their interests such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, lightening, and hail.

    3. Lesson Three: Writing and Editing a Research Report on Severe Weather. Following their research, students write and peer edit reports on the severe weather they selected in Lesson Two. Students are encouraged to read and make suggestions for improving reports of students who pursue different severe weather patterns.

    4. Lesson Four: Develop (or review) a Severe Weather Action Plan for the School. If the school has an existing severe weather action plan, students read copies and discuss how the plan can be used in a real weather emergency. If no such plan exists, students develop, write, and present an action plan to the school principal based on their

    5. Lesson Five: Presentation to the Class/School. Following the first five lessons, a special severe weather awareness day is planned where students present their research reports, along with their action plan and any other associated products (models, Web-pages, etc.) to the rest of the class/school.

    6. Lesson Six: (optional) Discussion of Severe Weather and the Greenhouse Effect. A whole-class discussion of the possible impact of the Greenhouse effect on recent severe weather patterns can encourage students to consider how local weather patterns are driven by larger, global warming and air movement systems. This can be connected or integrated with a related unit on global warming and the Greenhouse effect.

  6. Holocaust Resources Unit

    The Holocaust is an historical event that provides unique teaching opportunities and challenges. It can serve as a lens for students to understand the complex interplay of human intention, political and military power, and racial and ethnic hatred. At the same time, the magnitude and evil of the Holocaust places serious demands on educators. We who teach about the Holocaust must approach our subject matter carefully, being sure to properly contextualize its history so that events and people do not end up as lifeless stereotypes. We also need to be sure that the material we use is both appropriate for our students and true to the historical record.

  7. Video Teleconference Survey

    In this unit, students use Internet search engines to collect information about the topic, "Violence in the Media and How It Affects Teenagers." Students format the information they collect into survey questions that they invite classes in other schools to answer. Students invite classes that respond to the survey to participate in a CU-SeeMe video teleconference on the survey topic.

    1. Lesson One: Researching and Compiling Survey Information. Students use Internet search engines to investigate the topic "Media Violence and How It Affects Teenagers." Students work in groups to compile their information into survey questions, noting recurring facts or themes that might be relevant.

    2. Lesson Two: Administering the Survey. Students administer the Media Violence Survey to family and friends locally, and to students in remote locations.

    3. Lesson Three: Conducting a Video Teleconference Students organize a video teleconference over CU-SeeMe to discuss the results of the survey with participants.

  8. Current Events

    As part of their studies of modern American history, students will use various news sites to gather information on current events.

    1. Lesson One: Historical Context. As part of their studies of modern American history, students will use various news sites to gather information on current events.

    2. Lesson Two: Current Events Research. Students look for news stories on the Web that highlight some of the prominent issues in modern American history they outlined in Lesson One.

  9. Space Science and Fiction

    Students conduct research on space science and fiction at the Franklin Institute's exhibition "An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe." After completing their research, students will compose science fiction stories about imaginary planets. Students' stories will incorporate elements of fact and fiction that they gather during their research. Students may choose to publish their stories through the museum's on-line story studios.

    1. Lesson One: Exploring Space Fact. Students visit Websites to conduct research on facts about space and space exploration.

    2. Lesson Two: Exploring Space Fiction. Students visit Websites with information on space fiction and collect information for their stories.

    3. Lesson Three: Creating Space Fiction. Students synthesize aspects of the information that they gathered in the previous two lessons to create stories about imaginary planets. They may choose to publish their works at the Franklin Institute's story studios. Stude

  10. Fact Checking the News

    As part of their social science work, students will monitor current events via on-line and traditional resources. Periodically, students will choose a news article to critically examine using statistical resources available on the Web.

    1. Lesson One: Current Events Research. Students monitor current events using on-line and traditional resources.

    2. Lesson Two: Fact Checking Students choose a news article to analyze using on-line statistical resources.

Tips and

  Tips & Techniques. There are a variety of research methods that can be used, depending on the phemonema studied, including quantitative, experimental, qualitative, or ethnographic. New ways of conceptualizing research are being developed every day, and students should be open to multiple ways of thinking about inquiry.


  Related Resources provides teachers with places to visit to enhance the activities and units available at this site.

School; Choose Your View Chalkboard of 10 Big Ideas
Your View
10 Big

LETSNet is © Michigan State University College of Education and Ameritech