Students in the third grade have the writing skills to complete basic research assignments, such as book reports and informational papers. As a teacher, your job is to come up with research project ideas that interest and inspire your students, such as assignments that center on geography, science or history. Research projects often include visual elements, such as pictures, drawings and graphs, to help students develop and present their ideas. Students must locate important facts, terminology and statistical information and cite their resources as needed.
Assign a "famous person" project that requires students to research biographies of famous celebrities, historical figures, athletes, politicians or artists. Ask each student to choose a famous figure and create a biographical sketch on her. Help students organize their ideas into categories, such as background information, famous works and societal importance. Instruct students to include photographs of the person as part of the project. Provide historical or pop culture magazines that students can use to cut out celebrity images or ensure students have access to the Internet to print photographs. Students should organize the material in clear-cover report folders and read their biographical sketches aloud to the class.
Instruct students to create a poster on the state of their choice. They must research general facts, such as the history, size, population, geography and leading industries in the state. They can use photographs, maps and graphs to explain the information. Give class time to research state facts in the school library or on the Internet. Teach students how to search for important details and take notes on the content they read. Encourage them to organize their posters with blocks of text and visual images. Display the finished posters around the room. To avoid too many students choosing the same state, assign a state to each child.
Ask students to study and research any animal they choose and create a zoo brochure. Students can opt to make a trifold brochure or a one-page flier. They must include details about the animal's habitat, eating habits, lifestyle and role in nature. Instruct them to include images and photographs of the animal in the brochure. Students should also explain how their animal adapts to environmental changes, such as the four seasons and how the animal fits into the food chain. Some third-graders might know how to create brochures using software, but allow students to create them by pasting, gluing and writing on paper if they choose.
Simple Science Topics
Help students prepare for upper-elementary and middle school science fair projects by assigning science research reports. Ask students to choose a scientific topic, such as how frost forms, why oil separates from water, how seeds germinate or why rust forms on metal. Students must include an introduction, body and conclusion on their reports and provide sufficient factual details to support the content. According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the objective is to help students gain knowledge about their topics and support them with facts, definitions and details.
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: English Language Arts Standards -- Writing -- Grade 3
- Scholastic: Teachers: Get Inspired with Biography Research! Part 2 -- Project Ideas
- Read Tennessee: Tennessee Early Grades Reading Toolkit: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
- Third Grade Thinkers: Animal Research Folder -- A Fact Finding Mission; Doris Young
- Education.com: 3rd Grade Science Fair Projects
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