Thursday, February 2, 2012

Titanic Text Sparks Research Project

Fourth graders at my school recently read a nonfiction text in their reading groups about the Titanic. Their teacher casually commented to me that this is always one of her students' most favorite texts. "They just can't stop talking about it... Asking questions and more questions about how it sank and who was on it and who survived." This conversation naturally lead to an opportunity. Opportunity: Students are curious. They have questions. The media center is full of resources. What better way to teach research skills than in a real world context where students are seeking answers on a topic that sparks their interest? What better way to encourage collaboration with a teacher who has been hesitant to take advantage of the flexible media center schedule? Over the next two weeks, students came in first as a class then in small groups to check out every book we had in the library about the Titanic, use the computers and iPads and talk about how they could present their information in their final projects. Of course, mini lessons on research skills were woven throughout. Their excitement remained throughout the research with curiosity as the driving force. Gotta love a research project that doesn't sink!

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