Students often receive research project assignments with groans of disdain, but these projects can be fun and deeply satisfying to produce. Fifth grade is a time when students study a wide range of topics, from the makeup of the solar system to the development of The United States Constitution, so there's no shortage of interesting material from which to choose.
English and Art Projects
Research projects in English and Art normally fall in to the category of essays. You could write a paper about the work of a famous author you have studied, which examines how that author's work was received by critics. You could also write about painters who painted during the same time period. You could even compare and contrast two paintings by by the same artist; perhaps one is realistic and one is abstract. Also, you don't necessarily have to write paper -- unless your teacher says that you do. You could create a diorama or Powerpoint presentation that illustrates the important moments and works of an artist's life.
Social Studies Projects
Social studies projects allow for a wide range of topics, many of which are significant historical events. You could write a paper about Thomas Edison's life up until the time he invented the light bulb, or about Albert Einstein's life when he developed his Theory of General Relativity. You could also produce a physical report, such as a model of one of the famous moments of The American Revolutionary War, such as Washington Crossing the Delaware. You could even create a slideshow that shows illustrations of American Indian-inhabited lands alongside photographs of the actual locations today.
The physical sciences present opportunities to perform an experiment. You could write a report that explains what you did and what you learned from your experiment. You could experiment to see if electricity moves faster through thick wires or thin wires, or use wadded tin foil and a hammer to investigate how pressure and heat shape metamorphic rock. However, you don't have to perform an actual experiment to complete a research project. You could simply study a scientific phenomenon and then write a report about it. For example, you could study how a house can be built to run entirely on solar energy.
As is the case with the physical sciences, the health sciences allow you to perform experiments as well. You could investigate how quickly certain types of food spoil when left out at different temperatures, or how fast mold can grow on a surface in different atmospheric conditions. You could also write a report on a significant medical condition. For example, you could write about how the percentage of the population with diabetes has increased over the years, or which kinds of cancer have become more common. You could also incorporate a slideshow into your project to add visual aides to your presentation.
- California Department of Education: Fifth Grade in Californis Schools and The Common core state Standards
- Linden Public Schools: Research Paper Reference Guide Grades 4 and 5
- Education.com: Does Electricity Move Better through Thick Wires or Thin Ones?; Tricia Edgar
- Education.com: How Do Heat and Pressure Create Metamorphic Rocks?; Michelle formoso
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images