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Animal Research Project

Tiffany St. Clair

Overview of Lesson Context
7th grade Language Arts
Overview: Students will research an animal of their choice in order to learn about the animals
characteristics, habitat, diet, adaptations, and environmental threats. Students will collect and
organize information in order to complete a project of their choice. Students will need to
evaluate their resources and will be required to cite all sources used during research.
LA 7.9 The student will apply knowledge of appropriate reference materials to produce a
research project
a) collect and organize information from multiple sources including online, print, and media
b) evaluate the validity and authenticity of sources
c) use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information
d) cite primary and secondary resources
LS.4 The student will investigate and understand that the basic needs of organisms must be met
in order to carry out life processes. Key concepts include
b) animal needs (food, water, gases, shelter, space); and
c) factors that influence life processes.
LS.5 The student will investigate and understand how organisms can be classified. Key concepts
a) the distinguishing characteristics of kingdoms of organisms;
b) the distinguishing characteristics of major animal and plant phyla; and
c) the characteristics of the species.
1. SWBAT to research an animal of their choice and collect and organize information from a
variety of online resources.
2. SWBAT determine if a site is a valid and authentic source.
3. SWBAT correctly cite primary and secondary sources used during research.
4. SWBAT will demonstrate their understanding of their animal by writing a paper from the
information they have collected.

Youre a world famous zoologist and youve been asked to write an article about your favorite
animal for National Geographic magazine. This is a dream come true and you cant wait to
share all of your knowledge about such an exciting animal! National Geographic has requested
that certain facts must be presented in your article, or else they wont be able to publish it.
Although you are an expert in the field, you know your article must include valid sources in
order to support your writing. Are you ready to let the world hear you?

Students are to research an animal of their choice. They must collect and organize information
about their animals. Students will evaluate internet sources by completing a Website
Evaluation Sheet in order to determine whether they are valid sources. After collecting and
organizing information, students are to write a paper based on the information they have
found. The must answer all of the questions outlined in the Process section in order to receive
full credit.
How will students complete this challenge?
Step 1. Select the animal of your choice.
Step 2. Begin researching your animal. As you research, fill out the graphic organizer
below. Write where you found specific information next to it, so you know source you used.
Step 3. You need to have at least 4 different sources. Remember to choose websites that you
have carefully reviewed to ensure it is a valid, trustworthy source. Online encyclopedias are
great resources that are available to you through the school! Complete the S.P.I.D.E.R.
worksheet for each site to determine if the source is reliable. Remember to use APA format
when citing sources and on the Works Cited page. Check
out for help citing sources!
Step 4. Answer the following questions in your article:

What Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species does your animal
belong to?
What does the animal look like?

How does the animals appearance help in its habitat?

What are the characteristics of the animal?
Where does your animal live?
What type of adaptations does your animal have?
What does you animal eat?
Is it a predator or prey?
Share any other additional facts with your readers.

Step 5. After you have collected all of your information, write an outline for your research
Step 6. Write a rough draft of your research paper. Have 2 others students review your draft.
Step 7. Write final draft of research paper including a Works Cited page.
Step 8. When turning in your assignment you should have:

S.P.I.D.E.R. Website Evaluation sheet (3)

Animal Research Graphic Organizer
Animal Research Outline
Rough Draft of Essay
Final Draft of Essay

Internet, computer/tablet, writing utensils, graphic organizer,

Formative Assessments and Final Evaluation

This assignment will count as two test grades. The research paper itself will be
evaluated based on the Prince William County Schools 7th grade Expository Writing
Rubric. The second grade will be based on a checklist created for the assignment.
Students must complete all components of the activity in order to receive full credit.
1. How did you feel about this process? How might you use this tool in your classroom in
the future?
This was a challenging assignment, as it required a lot of thought and planning, however
I think it was a beneficial exercise. This is something I would definitely like to play with
for future learning opportunities. Next time, I would like to create a different type of

web inquiry activity, one that incorporates more group work and ends in a more
engaging assignment then a paper.
2. How did using this technology tool enhance this lesson? What do you gain by using this
tool? What do you lose?
I think using technology enhanced this lesson because everything was online making it
easier for students to know where to go and look for information about the project.
Kids often misplace papers which can have an effect on their grade because they miss
out on information or cant find their work so they cant turn it in for credit. The
website I created for this assignment, is a one-stop shop for students that will make it
easy for them to access information anytime they need and in one location. I dont think
anything gets lost in this lesson. Students are able to explore freely using the internet,
they just have to be sure that the sources they use are appropriate and valid.