Friday, April 19, 2013

Writing Animal Research Reports!

Hey All! I am a first grade teacher from Fall Into First and I wanted to share the fun way that my students learned to write research reports that centered around our amazing class pet! 
We are working on Informative Writing and we are about to begin writing our ZooPals Animal Research Reports! Before I let my students begin their own report, we write an animal research report together from beginning to end so that I can model the steps to informative writing. 

Our whole-group research report is about desert tortoises because we have a desert tortoise as a class pet!  (Did I mention I live in Arizona?)
Meet Shelldon! 
(For the record he has had that name long before the TV show The Big Bang started)
Shelldon became part of my class about four years ago. A former family called and asked if I was interested in adopting him because they were moving and needed to find him a new home. FYI a tortoise is a GREAT classroom pet, they are super low maintenance,  and the kids LOVE him! 

I went to the library and found several easy-read non-fiction book about Desert Tortoises.
(Desert Tortoises by Christopher Blomquist, Desert Tortoises by Sophia Lockwood and Desert Tortoises by Elizabeth Thomas)

We brainstormed the topics we would like to research and wrote them on our planning sheet. We decided to write about:
  • what a tortoise looks like
  • what a tortoise eats
  • where a tortoise lives
  • cool facts about the desert tortoise
Each day we read through our non-fiction text looking for facts that fit our topic. The kids did a great job. We tackled one page a day so we spent about one week researching and writing. 
Page 1 - A desert tortoise has a hard shell that covers its body. Their back legs look like little elephant feel. An adult tortoise is nine to fifteen inches long. 
Page 2 - A desert tortoise is a herbivore. They eat cactus, wildflowers and dried plants. They get water from the plants they eat.
 Page 3 - A tortoise lives on land. They dig burrows to stay cool. Desert tortoises live in Arizona, California and Mexico.
Page 4 - Desert tortoises live up to 100 years. They are in danger of dying out so laws protect them. A hatchling is about 2 inches long.
I wanted my students to get the FULL report writing experience so we did revisions then "published" our report by typing it in the computer lab! 
(I love technology and try to incorporate it whenever possible, this was NOT my students first experience using Microsoft Word) It took a little time and patience but when they typed their report but they were so incredibly proud of themselves!
We made this cute little tortoise art project by painting a bowl brown and gluing on tissue paper.
Next, my students worked in a small group to write their own ZooPals Animal Research Report! Click here to read all about it!  They turned out AMAZING!

Click here to get my Animal Research Report packet!

Thanks for reading! Stop by my blog to find more ideas and resources for your primary classroom!

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