Research Project

Live Oak Springs, California
Photographer: D. Jones

1. After previewing the Pioneers booklet and our discussion of movement, migration, and immigration, choose a topic for further study.

2. Having selected your topic, read about it in books, and Web sites without taking any notes. Develop three essential questions regarding your topic. Questions should be "why?" questions of a general nature.

For example:

"Why did a particular group of people decide to travel to Oregon?"
"What was the Trail of Tears, and why were the Cherokee forced to leave their homeland?"
"When people traveled on the trails, what were some of the dangers they faced?"
"What could the people do to prevent problems along the trails?"

3. You will be looking for specific information to answer your essential questions. Check the index and table of contents of books. Review Web sites in computer class.

Web site directories:

Westward Expansion Research Links
Westward Expansion Research Project

4. As you research, you should record your work using color-coded note cards.

    A. Collect facts on cards. Put one fact per card.
    B. Use three colors of cards. Each color will correspond to a particular essential question.

Note card example:

Blue cards will be about getting ready to go to Oregon.
Yellow cards will be about some of the stops along the trail.
Red cards will be about arriving in Oregon.

     C. On each note card include the following:

1. Your initials

2. Your essential question header (example: getting ready, stops, arriving in Oregon)

3. The fact that you found, in your own words, using complete sentences.

4. The book title and page number, or the Web site where the fact was found.

5. The Written Report (5 paragraphs)

    A. Arrange your cards in order to create a paragraph in your mind.
    B. Using the Inspiration Software, create a map of your information.
    C. Print an outline of your map by clicking the diagram/outline button in Inspiration.
    D. Using your outline, start to write your report.

You will need to have an introductory paragraph (why did you choose the topic?), three paragraphs for your information, and a concluding paragraph (what did you learn that was unusual or particularly interesting?). Remember to have topic sentences for each paragraph.

    E. Use an AlphaSmart word processor for your rough draft. Upload to Microsoft WORD, and SAVE to your home directory. Be sure that you have a proper header, double-space (Format menu>paragraph>double space).

    F. Conference, edit, and print a final copy.

Inspiration map

Inspiration diagram

Project Web design by Mr. Brown for Mrs. Teillon's 4th grade class.
Last update: March 11, 2004