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ED-530 Utilizing Emerging Technologies to Improve Learning

Lesson Abstract: Use the CAST Strategy Tutor* to write a research paper on a 19th
century historical event or character. Students must get research paper topics approved
and the length of the paper will be approximately three pages. After the assignment is
introduced students will have one week to choose a topic, three weeks to develop a rough
draft, and one additional week after rough drafts are critiqued to turn in a final draft. Class
time will be given to introduce and get comfortable with the CAST Strategy Tutor. Tutorials
will be viewed and reviewed in class as students work on their papers.

Grade(s): 9-12

Subject: History

Educator(s): Sarah Rusnock, Jason Robbins, Kim Clark, Denise Laurito

Lesson Name: Historical Research paper using technology

Lesson Objective: Students will be able to research, describe, and analyze an approved
19th century historical figure or event in research paper form.

Activity: 1. Students will do preliminary research and choose a topic to be approved.

• Students will gather research materials and use the CAST Strategy Tutor to
research, organize, and develop a research paper on their approved topic.
• Students will turn in a rough draft of their paper which will either be teacher
critiqued or peer critiqued (method of critiquing depends on time).
• Students will make corrections and “tidy up” their rough draft and hand in a
final copy by the assigned due date.

Resources Needed:
• Research resources: Library/computer lab
• Computers equipped with Firefox as well as CAST Strategy Tutor
• Time!!!
• Scoring rubric (attached)

Assessment: Students will turn in a final research paper to be graded using attached

Estimated Time: 4-5 weeks

PA & ISTE Academic Standards:
• 1.8.11.B Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.
• 1.8.11.C Organize, summarize and present the main ideas from research.
• 1.5.11.B Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.
• ISTE 5 Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a
variety of sources.
• ISTE 3 Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-
enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
• United States History 8.3.9.B - Identify and analyze primary documents, material
artifacts and historic sites important in United States history from 1787 to 1914.
• United States History 8.1.12 – Synthesize and evaluate historical sources.

Summary of Corresponding Materials: List of possible topics and specific instructions,

such as length and formatting is to be determined on an individual basis. Attached is a
scoring rubric that is flexible and can be effective in scoring historical research papers.

Final Notes: This assignment can be used for a variety of historical time periods or even
subjects. You may want to give students a list of topics to choose from to narrow their
search. Sometimes, especially with honors classes, I also require an oral presentation
incorporating technology (PowerPoint, Movie Maker, Web Quests, etc.). Where students
get materials and information is also flexible. I require students to use at least three
sources. At least one of these sources must be a “hard source (book, historical journal,
article etc.).


*CAST Strategy Tudor is a free online tool to support students and teachers doing reading
and research on the Internet, ages 10 and up. Strategy Tutor helps students read,
research, collect and understand information better and more efficiently. For teachers,
Strategy Tutor provides a way to easily create web-based lessons embedded with
research-based, highly effective learning strategy and vocabulary supports.

Research Paper Rubric

Student Name: __________________________ Teacher Name:

Yes Test: You must receive all “yeses” for your paper to be scored. Any “no” will stop the process.
Yes No Basic Requirement
1. Paper typed
2. Thesis clearly stated in intro and referenced in the conclusion
3. Correct documentation style used in text
4. Citing evident
5. Minimum 3 sources (and a variety of types)
6. Works Cited/Bibliography or References accurate and correctly formatted
7. Paper written in 3rd person; content not personal essay but non-biased research
8. Paper meets minimum length standard (3+ pages, excluding title and Works
Cited/Bibliography or References)
9. Evidence of consistent and conscientious editing
4—Clearly a knowledgeable, practiced, skilled pattern
3—Evidence of a developing pattern
2—Superficial, random, limited consistencies
1—Unacceptable skill application
Use of Sources
Skill application demonstrates use which represents  4 3 2 1
Researched information appropriately documented
Enough outside information to clearly represent a research process
Demonstrates use of paraphrasing, direct, and indirect quotations
Information connects to the thesis
Sources on Works Cited/Bibliography or References accurately match sources cited
within the text
Skill application demonstrates use which represents  4 3 2 1
Introduction engaging and clearly defines thesis
Thesis is challenging and focused
Content connecting to thesis is clarifying, exploring, explaining, developing
Text organization flows sensibly and smoothly
Mixture of personal voice interwoven with research (commentary)
Conclusion thoughtful, engaging, and clear
Skill application demonstrates use which represents  4 3 2 1
Pagination (top right following last name)
12 point Times New Roman font and appropriate margins
Correct paragraphing
Written in formal style
Information Literacy
Skill application demonstrates use which represents  4 3 2 1
Consistent Format (MLA or APA)
Evidence of thorough research (sources represent variety and types)
Documentation demonstrates conscientious application of citing ethics
Evidence of sorting and selecting appropriate material
Evidence of importance of author’s credibility and validity
Research offers non-biased, fair research perspective from which a conclusion is drawn
Research information goes beyond surface information
Comments on back.
Total Score: ________/92 Total Percentage: _________%