Waddya Know?

Research Project

By: Mary Beth Hertz
Subject: All Subject
Grade: 7
Timeframe: 8 weeks


There is a wealth of information to be found online. Not all information online is trustworthy. It is important to use the information we find online responsibly. Sharing what you have learned is powerful for you and your audience


*As outlined by the ISTE NETS•S

  1. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, and processes
  2. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
    a.Understand and follow copyright rules and guidelines
    b. Cite sources
  3. Plan strategies to guide inquiry
  4. Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
    a. Navigate a browser
    b. Use a tool like Diigo to compile resources
  5. Evaluate and select information resources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
  6. Know how to evaluate websites for accuracy and relevance
    1. Process data and report results
    2. Be able to show what you know through a variety of tools
  7. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies


  • Computer access


Class 1: Preliminary Hook

  1. Introduce the concept of problem-solving students by posing a real-life investigation to the class. Using a short story, tell the students about a particular problem you have been thinking about.
  2. Ask the students to help you figure out a solution to your problem. Students can do this as a class, in groups, or independently.
  3. Teach students about their EasyBib accounts. Using the Notebook feature, have students brainstorm problems they want to explore and explain why. Have students choose a problem that they would most like to investigate.

Class 2: Practice

  1. Review the last class and its goals. Explain that today’s purpose is to choose a problem to investigate and figure out what students already know, what they need to find out, and if there are any further questions they have about the subject.
  2. Have students define the following words: compare, describe, evaluate, and discuss.
  3. Students will re-visit the problems they came up from the last class, and begin to brainstorm questions that they have about their problem or things they need to know more about. Using these questions, have students formulate keywords for their searches.
  4. Students will need to decide whether they will compare, describe, evaluate, or discuss their problem.

Class 3: Practice

  1. Review the last class and its goals. Explain that today’s purpose is to discuss the next steps in the investigation, and begin the search for information.
  2. Ask students where to seek information, and how to evaluate whether that information is “good” information.
  3. Introduce “WWW” – Who, What, Where – for helping navigate information. Have students visit a web site for their project and mark down the WWW. Then, have students switch with a peer to evaluate each other’s WWW.
  4. Have students compare and contrast their responses.

Class 4: Practice

  1. Review the last class and its goals. Explain that today’s purpose is to discuss how to collect information now that students have found appropriate sources of information.
  2. Discuss with students the best practices for taking notes and collecting information.
  3. Facilitate a discussion with the students of what copyright and plagiarism are. Have students come up with definitions for the word summary and paraphrase, and how they relate to copyright and plagiarism.
  4. Students will find a website about their topic. They will record the URL and write a short summary of the information presented on the site, including direct quotes when necessary. These summaries can be done on EasyBib’s Notebook.
  5. Students will then share their summary with their neighbor and each student will look for plagiarism in their peer’s summary.
  6. Each student will modify his/her summary as needed and type it into a blog post on Schoology.

Class 5: Practice

  1. Review the last class and its goals. Ask students what they know about finding information so far.
  2. Students will begin learning what Diigo is and how they can use it to keep track of their sources. First, introduce the tool and demonstrate how to use it.
  3. First, have students bookmark the website they found on their problem on Diigo. Then, they will discuss tags and how they can be used to further organize information. Let students choose tags for their particular website. In pairs, students will share a tag that they chose and why.
  4. Students will then write their first sticky note in Diigo as a practice in summarizing and paraphrasing. They will share their sticky note with a neighbor for review/feedback.

Class 6: Final Artifact

  1. Review what the students have learned and practiced so far. Explain to the students that they will now be able to begin their research.
  2. Students will collect information about their problem based on the questions or gaps in knowledge they have. Using Diigo and other bookmark sites, students will take notes on their sources.

Class 7: Final Artifact

  1. Ask students what they should do when they think they have collected enough research. Discuss the importance of compiling research.
  2. Have students use the EasyBib Notebook to organize and collect their research all in one place. Students should translate their notes from Diigo to the Notebook, maintaining the URL for each source.

Class 8: Final Artifact (2 days)

  1. Go through the following exercise with students: Explain that you have decided to write a book about a particular issue. Have students begin brainstorming possible chapter names for the book. At the end of the exercise, explain to students that they will have to organize their research in a similar way.
  2. Using EasyBib Notebook, have students organize their research into topics. For more complex organization, teach students how to organize by tags, color-coding, and groups. Make sure that students have at least three categories.
  3. Discuss the importance of citations. Using the EasyBib citation guide, teach students about who should be included in a citation, and make sure that that information is associated with each note in their Notebook.

Class 9: Final Artifact

  1. Ask students to list some possible ways to share their research. At the end of the discussion, explain to the students that they will be building a wiki/website to present their research.
  2. Students will choose a name for their wiki/website. Then, have students log into Wikispaces/GoogleSites, where they will name their wiki/website and begin to build their homepage.
  3. Have students discuss what makes a good website, and create a checklist of what they should include on their website.

Class 10: Final Artifact

  1. Meet with individual students and ask them what part of the project they are on. Based on student answers, assign student goals to the class.
  2. Present a rubric for the wiki/website based on the checklist the students created last class.
  3. Students will finish organizing notes and the text portion of their home page.

Class 11: Final Artifact (2-3 days)

  1. Review the goals of last class, and determine whether students have met those goals. Ask students what they think the next logical step of the research process is.
  2. Based on the topics they created by organizing their EasyBib Notebook, have students begin adding pages to their site. Students will add pages for each topic as necessary.

Class 12: Final Artifact

  1. Explain to students they will be receiving feedback on their sites based on the checklist/rubric they created last class.
  2. Hand each student the checklist of the items they should include on their site, based on the rubric presented last class. Students will have a chance to revisit their sites and modify them as necessary.

Class 13: Final Artifact

  1. Discuss with the students how to find appropriate images for their site, using the tutorial provided at Schoology.
  2. Have students complete the text on their site and begin bookmarking appropriate images for their site. After they have collected enough images, they can begin adding them to their site. Make sure that students are properly citing their images.

Class14: Final Artifact

  1. Students will do one last peer review with the rubric before making final revisions.
  2. Have students submit their URLs for grading.


Based on the rubric created during the unit, students will be graded on both their final site and EasyBib Notebook.


Students should have completed the objectives outlined at the beginning of the lesson plan. By undergoing the entire research process and thinking through the best way to approach research, students should have developed the necessary information seeking and technology skills.


Students can review each other’s published sites to learn about each other’s research investigations.

Common Core Standards:

Common Core Standards 7th Grade Expectations How the lesson plan addresses this standard
Anchor Reading Standard 1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. CC.R.IT.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. In their research project, students will use textual evidence to support their summaries, and cite them in the Notebook.
Anchor Reading Standard 2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. CC.R.IT.7.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text Students will learn how to paraphrase and summarize information from their research.
Anchor Reading Standard 7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. CC.R.IT.7.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words). Students are using both textual evidence and images to support their research on their site.
Anchor Reading Standard 8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. CC.R.IT.7.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims. EasyBib’s Notebook teaches students to deconstruct the argument of each source by identifying main quotes/ideas and paraphrasing them in their own words. Students can pick and choose which evidence they find relevant or not.
Anchor Reading Standard 9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. CC.R.IT.7.9 Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts. Students will read multiple sources in order to answer the same research question, some of which may conflict.
Anchor Writing Standard 7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. CC.W.7.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation. Students will understand the process of investigating a research question, by identifying a problem and what gaps in their knowledge they must fill in order to answer the question.
Anchor Writing Standard 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. CC.W.7.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. Students will take notes from multiple sources to answer the research question. They will also practice citing each source on EasyBib’s bibliography composer.
Anchor Writing Standard 9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. CC.W.7.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
a. Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history”).
b. Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g. “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims”)
Unifying the note taking exercises under a single research question shows that the student is not just taking notes blindly, but with a research goal in mind.



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