TeachersFirst's Research Resources
Today’s students must learn the valuable skill of research. Research will be required in future studies, and possibly a career. Research requires planning, execution, and digging deep. Students must learn to raise the right questions about what they are listening to, watching, or reading. They must learn how to decipher quality research from mediocre and find the best places for GOOD research. This collection of resources includes lesson ideas, activities, and resources for teaching research skills.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomShare activities from this site to introduce civics and government lessons; be sure to point out links with additional resources included after problem-solving activities. Share a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Replace written notes and help students organize information using a mind mapping tool like Coggle, reviewed here. Use Coggle to create and share colorful diagrams with included text and images. As students continue through the unit, have them enhance their learning by including their diagram on a website sharing their knowledge of civics concepts or discussing the historical event studied. Webnode, reviewed here, is a free website creator offering premade templates and easy to use tools. Transform student learning at the next level and ask them to create a book for younger students to teach them about the event studied using Book Creator,reviewed here. For example, when learning about the three branches of government ask students to create a digital book explaining the functions of the three branches. Book Creator allows you to include videos, images, audio recordings, and more.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Fiskkit in your classroom to teach students critical thinking and analysis skills. Share current news articles weekly with students to evaluate and discuss. After students provide their input, share the results on your interactive whiteboard, or with a projector, to review and discuss the reactions as a group. As students evaluate articles, replace paper note cards and suggest they use an online note-taking tool similar to Webnote, reviewed here, to justify their answers on Fiskkit. Webnote allows you to add sticky notes on the computer workspace and share with others using the URL created. Challenge students to find articles they would like to discuss, save, and collaborate on using SearchTeam, reviewed here. SearchTeam offers you tools to bookmark and save websites, with the additional feature of allowing participants to add comments to saved information. SearchTeam can be used for a variety of assignments in any classroom that is integrating technology as an enhancement. Instead of a written report, as students become more comfortable with evaluating online tools, ask them to use a multimedia presentation tool like Sway, reviewed here, to modify technology use and to discuss media bias and offer tips for evaluating online information.
Grades6 to 8
tag(s): black history (79), civil rights (142), constitution (92), democracy (17), elections (74), freedom of speech (12), immigrants (29), immigration (71), inquiry (34), media literacy (89), politics (105), racism (58), Research (45), world war 2 (146)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free materials on this site to encourage debate and discussion within your current civics lessons and lessons on civil rights and racism. Each lesson includes primary sources to use when responding to prompts; ask students to find and share additional primary sources to include their response to each question. Instead of just creating a list of additional resources, enhance student learning and classroom technology use by sharing additional resources using Padlet, reviewed here. Padlet offers features for adding comments; ask students to use this feature to indicate important information found on the document. Enhance learning further by finding and sharing videos that support the topic being discussed. Use EdPuzzle, reviewed here, to add comments and question prompts for students. Upon completing student projects, have them share their thoughts through a podcast featuring students' challenge solutions. Be sure to include a group of students in each podcast featuring various points of view and their backup documentation.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard and projector to show students how to use this tool for citing their sources. Share this website for all of your projects using research so students know the correct procedure for citations. Be sure to add it on your class web site as a useful reference.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomBenefit from the free lessons on this site for use when teaching the use of primary sources. Challenge younger students to demonstrate concepts learned by creating a presentation using slides, reviewed here, and older students to use a presentation tool from Lucidpress, reviewed here. The easy drag and drop features of Lucidpress allow you to personalize flyers, posters, presentations, and more. Ask students to incorporate primary sources and other research materials into an interactive timeline using Preceden, reviewed here, as a visual look at historical events over a certain period.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this great resource to organize and compare research found on the Internet. Consider creating a class Google account to collect materials found throughout the school year. Be sure to talk to students about how to organize and share information and sources. Students can maintain their own archive and show their collection at the end of the year. This tool will also be very handy for graduate projects teachers may be doing.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this video with students as they begin any research project. Be sure to add a link to this site on your class website for reference at home. Have students create a simple infographic with examples of both types of resources using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have students upload a photo they have taken of a source and add an explanation about why it fits into a particular category using a tool such as Add Text, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site on your interactive whiteboard as you share individual topics with students, then create a link on your class website for students to access information at any time. Divide topics among groups of students and enhance or transform classroom technology use and student learning by having each group create a simple or multimedia infographic (depending on teacher requirements or student ability) and share their findings using Venngage, reviewed here. Create a class wiki with resources for using and crediting online tools. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): citations (35), classroom management (146), digital citizenship (79), evaluating sources (17), inquiry (34), media literacy (89), organizational skills (106), Research (45), search strategies (26)
In the ClassroomR4S would be perfect for use as a blended-learning or the flipped classroom experience for upper high school into the first year of college. You can have students work online, or you can download into your course management system. Have students work through all the steps as part of a research assignment, or use only the parts relevant to them. Teachers need to register to receive the text copy of the helpful teacher's guide. Use the site in any subject or curriculum area.
Will be integrating this unit into freshman comp at the community college where I teach researched argument, the first English class students are required to complete.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades4 to 10
In the ClassroomGo! Ask, Act, Achieve is an easy-to-use introduction which demystifies and simplifies teaching the research process. Use this to meet the Common Core standards for research in a content area. Have students work through the site in sequence or pull out areas to teach skills, as needed. Don't forget to refer to the LiveBinder Teachers Guide for more fabulous ideas for the classroom.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): 20th century (53), authors (115), black history (79), civil war (143), constitution (92), hispanic (15), jefferson (22), lincoln (73), new deal (5), primary sources (102), Research (45), segregation (17), thanksgiving (27), veterans (19), washington (26), westward expansion (35), womens suffrage (31), wright brothers (20)
In the ClassroomWhen introducing a new unit, show students photos from the era and have them describe what they see and what period they think it is. Find plenty of questions and activities (including a blank analysis organizer for students) in the Teacher's Guides. Also look at Library of Congress: for Teachers, reviewed here. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted for reproduction), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Slidestory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture modifying student learning. Include this site on your class webpage for students and parents to access as a reference.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomBefore beginning a research project, either introduce or review the process of researching a topic. Put a link on your class website so students can refer to this video for additional review.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomMeet your Common Core standards for nonfiction reading using the pages at this informative site! In addition, every student who creates a report, presentation, speech, or project, in any subject, needs to know this information. Consider dividing and presenting this site with a teacher in another curriculum, so students get the idea that this is information for EVERY class. Modify learning and consider presenting the information, questions, and quizzes using a tool such as GoClass, reviewed here, or The Answer Pad, reviewed here. With with these tools you can create questions or a scavenger hunt. Then you can quiz students on the information and have it all self-corrected. Moreover, using one of these programs will make this text heavy, but necessary material, much more tolerable for your students. You may want to challenge your gifted and musically inclined students to create a rap highlighting the important information they learned about plagiarism and citing sources. Have them teach the rap to the rest of the class. Or change learning and have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector and this tool to walk your students through each step of the MLA formatting process. Point out all the particulars that this tool is doing so students get a better understanding of MLA formatting. Send the students home to use the tool on their most recent essay as practice. Ask them to keep track of any questions or problems they have while using this tool. The next day, go over the questions.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Surfmark to collect and organize information for lessons throughout the year. Share with older students (age 13+) -- if school policies permit -- to use when collaborating on projects or as a resource for gathering and organizing information for a research project or year end review. Create a Surfmark and share the link on your classroom web page, have students add their own notes and thoughts then share the finished session on your interactive whiteboard. Surfmark provides opportunities for limitless collaboration and sharing of information from across the web, not only with your class but with others around the world!
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Requires download/installation of software
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomStart with the OECD Better Life Index that brings together many factors to numerically rank countries by happiness or well-being. Assign this graph as a "Make Your Own," with students rating the topics (or more importantly, asking their parents or grandparents). Compare their results and look at gender differences. Students can brainstorm reasons for gender differences or ranking of topics in importance. Compare the United States to other countries. Allow class time to look at other data found on this site and brainstorm how these are connected. Connect the data to curriculum being discussed in class: economic policies, wars, global problems with food and agriculture, social norms, and more. Connect the information to headlines from around the world, both past and present. Encourage students to write an essay, opinion piece, or elevator pitch on one aspect or social issue that is important to change. What a great example of argument and evidence as required by Common Core! This assignment can also be delivered as a podcast, video, or part of a news segment the class creates. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here) to create podcasts. Try creating a video and share it using TeacherTube reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): advertising (33), black history (79), cross cultural understanding (150), history day (22), immigration (71), journalism (71), lincoln (73), martin luther king (33), poetry (218), presidents (128), primary sources (102), professional development (267), roosevelt (13), slavery (58), writing prompts (74)
In the ClassroomTake a look at the free professional development for using primary sources for teachers. In the Archives for Connecting to the Common Core, there are writing prompts for K-5 plus a link to the triangle activity. Download and use the PDF for the Thinking Triangle. Have older students research an interest and report to the class using a tool like Zoho Show (similar to PowerPoint, but easier and free) reviewed here.
Grades5 to 8
In the ClassroomThe trick in using All About Explorers is to keep the real lesson a secret at the beginning and allow students to come to their own conclusion. Processing that "aha!" moment when students recognize that there is a hidden agenda here will have a much more lasting impression than simply telling students they cannot believe everything they read. Deep inside, students often believe they can easily tell the difference between the Truth and something that is misleading or downright false. All About Explorers will help them see how difficult that can be. They might also learn something about explorers in the process! Extend this lesson by having student groups find another suspect site and create a screencast of that "suspicious" site, pointing out characteristics that indicate an unreliable source. A tool such as Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, or Screencastify (Chrome app), reviewed here, will allow them to create a "tour" of the fallacies they find.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomYour students' online research will be efficient and effective with Scrible. Students can take notes on their bookmarks. They only need to bookmark the part of the website they need for their assignment. Students can collaborate with peers on their research. Post articles and documents online for your students to highlight and annotate. Bookmark this tool on your website or blog for your students to access in or outside of the classroom. Use Scrible to annotate professional development articles or to highlight important information for your students. The best part? It will instantly create your bibliography for you!
How many times have we heard students complain during a group project, "But I couldn't get to his or her house to work on it?" Tell them to use Scrible to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use the site to post and share discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article to your subject. Highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop (or BYOD) program schools, you can use this essentially to run your class. Post assignments or post readings. Science teachers can post online interactive labs, and more.