Welcome to a series of ten lessons on planet research! This set of lessons is part of a larger unit my district is implementing all about the topics of space and books with great word choice. My grade level completes a research report or project for each of our six thematic units. This happens to be the fifth research project my students are completing this year.
I loved completing these lessons because none of my students' reports came out the same - even those who researched the same planet! The design of this unit was inquiry-based, so students chose the direction of their report. Some were interested in the history of their planet - how it got its name, who discovered it, etc. Others wanted to know if there were features similar to Earth, or why their planet had so many moons.
I've included the Planet Research Packet in this section of my lesson on each day. I refer to page numbers as I walk you through each day of this series of lessons, however I left page numbers off, in case there were pages you didn't want to use. You may notice that my student samples vary slightly from the packet I've provided for you. I made changes to the packet as I noticed things that could be made better. I hope you and your astronomers find these resources helpful as you research planets! Thank you! (See Resource File: Planet Research Packet)
*Clipart in my lesson picture purchased from ScribbleGarden on Etsy
I begin by passing back my students' rough drafts. They read through them, noticing the changes I've made for them. My students keep writing folders which have copies of editing marks for reference. I review the marks with them, answering any questions.
I model for students how to copy, making revisions and edits from a rough draft. I mark a light line on my rough draft as I copy to keep my place as I'm writing. I think out loud as I'm modeling, showing students how to refer to the editing marks, and double check to make sure my work is accurate. I also stop and reread through my final draft, making sure I haven't forgotten any words, or copied incorrectly. I have the students critique my handwriting, and stress that it's important that our final copy be our neatest work.
I pass out page nine in the Planet Research Packet. The students are hard at work making their neat, revised, and edited final copies. I have copied extra pages, as I know that some of the students have written longer reports and will need more than one circle for their report. (See Resource File: Planet Research Packet - Page 9)
I've included a few samples of my students' work for you to view. (See Resource Files: Final Draft Samples One through Four)
*In our schedule, our literacy centers back up to our shared reading time. If students didn't have their report finished, they finished before they went to a literacy center. This approach works well for me when we have days where students need just a few more minutes to finish a job. If a student needs to see me in a guided reading group, they just finish after their guided reading group.
Review: We review and celebrate today's learning.
Peek at Tomorrow: I let the class know that they'll be creating a nonfiction text feature tomorrow to illustrate part of their report. I ask them to start thinking about parts of their report that might be difficult to understand, and how they could scaffold someone reading their informational report, with a nonfiction text feature.
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful if you're working on a space-themed unit.
Do We Wish Upon a Shooting Star, or Falling Rock?: This document is an informational passage that includes multiple choice questions. My students need practice with these types of questions, including those with multiple answers, questions with Part A and Part B, and fill in the blank. I teach in Illinois, and our students will be taking the PARCC Assessment beginning next year. I hope these types of tasks will help prepare my students for these tests, as well as our end-of-unit assessments, and overall mastery of the standards. The focus of this assignment are standards RI3.1, RI3.4, and RI3.7. (See Resource File: Shooting Star, or Falling Rock MC Practice)