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Animal Science Research Report

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Keywords: blog, research, science, writing, photography, technology
Subject(s): Art, Video, Technology, Podcasting, Life Science, Special Needs, Writing, Reading, Information Skills, Biology, Photography, English/Language Arts, Science, Journalism, Math
Grades 4 through 6
School: William E Lancaster School, Salem, NH
Planned By: Erin Cianciolo
Original Author: Erin Cianciolo, Salem
To begin with, the school year will start with learning about blogs, and what it means to safely use the internet as a classroom tool. This is an approach that is new to the school and the children will have a lot to learn about maintaining a class blog and utilizing the feedback they receive in a public forum.
The children will work with an amateur photographer who will teach lessons in the fundamentals of digital photography. The lessons will allow students to apply previously learned reading comprehension strategies, such as personal schema, determining importance, the art of visualizing, point of view, voice/intent, details, and inferring, to photography as it relates to their topic of study. Previously learned math skills, such as fractions, computing area, and density will be accessed as students learn about pixels, DPI, aperture, and shutter speed.
In addition, media specialists for the Salem School District, will lead research report lessons and relate all of the childrenís work to the experience we will have at The Squam Lake Science Center. Skills such as finding main idea, note-taking, citing sources, organizing note cards, outlining, and summarizing will be taught.
The staff at Squam Lake is working with Lancaster Elementary teachers and students to make the experience as enriching as possible. They are tailoring the student visit to their facility around Lancasterís needs. They are going to communicate with students to fulfill the goal of long-term, long-range data collection.
Classroom teachers will head the task of teaching the children all of the necessary science, reading, writing, and technology lessons that will make this project work. The time frame for this project is 10 weeks.

Students will learn and apply the research process to answer self-generated questions relevant to the NH State Science Frameworks pertaining to animals. Children will use modern methods of gathering data from a variety of media, including trade books, internet, magazines, lectures, podcasts, webcasts, personal interactions, photography, and observations.
Student achievement will be measured by the successful completion of individual research reports that will be placed for viewing on a class blog. Students will be working to meet the parameters detailed for them ahead of time on a rubric. Achievement will be measured first by checking and assessing student note cards and outlines. Typewritten reports will be further assessed, and finally, individual research reports will be placed for viewing on a class blog. Outside feedback on the blog will validate the childrenís work, hopefully inspiring them to continue researching in the future.
Materials: Digital Cameras, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Memory Cards