The concept of 'research' can seem overwhelming. Even older students, without an organized plan of attack, can be bogged down with information and no way to organize it into a useful tool for writing. Organization of facts and ideas are essential in order to transfer what has been saved into a useful final product. But what about the little guys?
I have created a house-shaped graphic organizer that I use for research in the lower grades. This model helps them organize their information. Each room in the house represents certain criteria they are to find and save. For the sake of this project, the 'rooms' stored information on habitat, diet, appearance, behavior, and a section at the 'foundation' of their house for interesting facts!
I shared the book, If You Were Born a Kitten, by Marion Bauer, with Kindergarten classes. The book highlights the beginning of life for several different animals, giving the students some very interesting and some not-so-well-known facts about the early stages of life for each of the animals. They were so fascinated by the book, I decided to expand my lesson and include First Grade classes. I also invited the art teacher to collaborate with me on the project by working with each class to create an art project about their animal.
Each Kindergarten and First Grade class was assigned one of the animals in the book. We researched their animal using video clips, web sites, and books and saved any information they felt was important in the appropriate 'room' on their house graphic organizer.
The writing phase of the project was very exciting! It was amazing to see the students create complete sentences using the information we collected together. Each class was eager to surprise their teacher with a book about their animal, complete with their own artwork and all the information we found through research.
So the answer is, yes! Research can be fun, regardless of the age!