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Research Project

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Subject(s): Information Skills, English/Language Arts
Grades 8 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Mike O'Callaghan Middle School, Las Vegas, NV
Planned By: Leanna Kromer
Original Author: Leanna Kromer, Las Vegas
Goals: The goals for this lesson are that students will be able to conduct research on a specific topic of their choosing related to the film, Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian. Students will use internet sources from the computer and text resources from our library to research a particular person. Students will then be able to present their research for other students in the class to further promote learning. Students in the audience will then be able to listen to and write about three positive aspects of the presentation and one area where the presentation could use some additional help.
Objectives: Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to:
• Conduct research (using internet websites and databases and books from our school library) on a specific topic chosen from the film, Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian.
• Present and explain specific information from at least two digital and one traditional (book) source that they have found on their topic.
• Listen to and provide constructive criticism to fellow students when they present.
Standards Addressed:
NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts:
1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
NV state standards:
6.8.9 Students will write a research paper by documenting and citing sources in a consistent format; write a logical conclusion that related to the thesis and outcome of the research; determine the usefulness of sources.
8.8.3 Use public speaking techniques to deliver presentations
7.8.5 Listen to, provide, and evaluate constructive feedback
6.8.6 Write persuasive text that includes problem/solution structure and rhetorical questions.
NETS: Grades 6-8
3. Gather data, examine patterns, and apply information for decision making using digital tools and resources. (1,4)
5. Evaluate digital resources to determine the credibility of the author and publisher and the timeliness and accuracy of the content. (3)

Prior Knowledge: Prerequisites for this assignment are as follows:
• Prior knowledge will be built by previewing the film, Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian.
• Students must have chosen a specific topic that is shown in the film, Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian, prior to utilizing computer lab and/or library for research.
• Students must have a working knowledge of how to use a computer and the internet.

Materials: Materials needed for this lesson are:
• 1 copy of DVD of film Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian along with a working TV/DVD combo unit to view select scenes from the film on.
• A listing of topics for students to choose from the film for their project (see attached.)
• A listing of the information students will need to research and present (see attached.)
• At least two class periods of scheduled time at the computer lab (to be scheduled by the teacher in advance.)
• One scheduled class period of time at our school library (to be scheduled by the teacher in advance.)
• A listing of useful websites and databases for the students to research information from (given to students from our school librarian.)

Lesson Overview: Students will participate in their annual end of the year research project. To begin with, students will preview the film Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian before selecting a historical character from the film. Students will then use the school computer lab and the school and local library to research their topic using both digital and traditional sources. Students will correctly site their sources and complete a bibliography. As a culminating event, students will present their research to their classmates, and students in the audience will write constructive criticism on the presentation.

Lesson Procedures:
• Introduction— (one entire class period)
Teacher will ask the students directly how many have ever gone to a museum. Teacher will then introduce the research project and explain that many times today’s fictional movies are based on reality. Teacher will then show select scenes from the film Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian to present and build on prior knowledge while completing think aloud during specific parts of the film and assist the students in selecting a topic for their research project. Students will spend the last minutes of class selecting a historical figure as the topic for their research report.
• Main activity— (this will take approximately 5 days of class time)
After watching clips from the film and selecting a character students will go to the computer lab and library to research important facts and information on their topic. Students will find their topic’s birthplace, D.O.B, historical impact, and other information they feel is important and shows the historical impact of the topic that they chose to present. Students will correctly cite and also create a bibliography for their sources. Students will then present their information for the students in class and while the presentation is occurring, audience members will write three positive aspects of the presentation and one area that needs a little help (constructive criticism.)

• Conclusion— (one entire class period)
Students will receive their constructive criticism and write a persuasive paper explaining what grade they feel they should receive. After submission, students will meet with teacher to conference on strengths and weaknesses and grade they received.
• Extension— (up to the student, on an individual basis)
There are several extensions that may occur for this project. The first extension may be for students to watch the first Night at the Museum movie, but another extension might be for the students to read/research more on a historical figure from the project on their own. Students who crave more information may explore their topic or a fellow students’ topic at home.
Assessment: Students will be assessed in several ways. Students should have information from at least two digital sources, not including the film, and one traditional (book) source, and be able to cite the sources appropriately. Students will also be able to present their findings to the class, making sure to note important facts and information. Finally, students in the audience (not presenting) will take notes on each presentation noting positive aspects of the students’ research project and one thing that could be improved upon.
I am not asking for much, just a DVD projector for my students!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This could work well with a history class for the historical figures
Materials: DVD/VCR Players
Other Items: 1 DVD projector, $1099.99 each, total of $1099.99