We start off by checking out all the different animal research project possibilities. Pebble Go has so much interesting information and a TON of animals. My students fill out a thinking map of the different animals they are interested I learning about. Then, I have them take their map home to talk with their parents about which one they should choose. I have them circle their top 2 choices and bring their map back to school. (I have also had where students didn’t have anyone help them figure out which one to do, so I did that part with them at school).
The next step we usually take is putting all of the information together to make a brochure. We spend a little bit of time on this each day. I model a section of the brochure first and then the students work on theirs. We normally display these at Open House, so I stress to the students to take their time and do their best work. They think it is so exciting to make a brochure- and even more exciting that other people will look at them.
Around the time that we start the brochure, I send home the parent letter that explains a diorama project for the animal’s habitat. I send an email with some information prior to that so that families can start planning. I like to give about 2-3 weeks on this project, although most finish sooner than that. They bring their projects up to school and we can then set everything out for Open House. We also like to try to have a ‘Gallery Walk’ between all of our classes so that the kids can see the work of the other students in the grade level.