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Lesson Plan

Animal Study: From Fiction to Facts

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Animal Study: From Fiction to Facts

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Renee Goularte

Renee Goularte

Magalia, California


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One: Fiction Read-Aloud

Session Two: Nonfiction Read-Aloud

Session Three: Gather Information From the Internet

Session Four: Record Findings

Session Five: Group Discussion


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • compare and cross-reference information from fiction and nonfiction texts about animals.

  • create "facts charts" in whole group formats.

  • record factual information.

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Session One: Fiction Read-Aloud

(May be divided into two sessions, if desired)

  1. Post the "What We Think about Ants" chart where students can see it.

  2. Gather students together for a story. Explain that you are going to read a story about ants that is fiction (define the word if necessary) but that together you are going to see if you can learn anything about ants by reading the story.

  3. Read Two Bad Ants aloud. Take time to discuss the actions of the ants as you read.

  4. When the story is over, ask some key questions about ants that will lead to factual information. Some examples of questions might be:

    • What did these ants want to eat?

    • How hard did the ants have to work to get what they wanted?

    • Can you tell anything about where the ants live from this story?

    • What do ants look like?
  5. As a follow-up question, ask, "From listening to this story, what do you think might be true about ants?"

  6. Chart students' responses. Because the goal is to have students building information from fiction to fact, it's important that all responses be traced back to the story in some way. If a student suggests information that is not related in any way to the events of the story, it can be acknowledged another way, perhaps by jotting it down on a sticky note for later reference or by starting another chart with additional questions.

  7. Tell students they will be adding more information to the chart after listening to another story about ants.

  8. Read One Hundred Hungry Ants aloud. Take time to point out any relevant information about the ants that might be related to factual information.

  9. When the story is finished, ask some key questions to elicit possible factual information. Some examples of questions might include the following:

    • Did this book give you any additional information about ants?

    • What can you tell me about how these ants traveled?

    • What did these ants want to eat?

    • What else do you think might be true about ants that is in this story?
  10. Chart additional information as students make guesses about real behavior of ants. Keep the chart posted for reference in Session Two.

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Session Two: Nonfiction Read-Aloud

  1. Post the "What We Know about Ants" chart next to the chart from the previous session.

  2. Gather students together. Review the chart from the previous session.

  3. Explain that you are going to read a nonfiction book about ants (define the word if necessary), and that they will be able to find out whether the things they thought about ants are really true. Let them know that you will make a new list of things that they learn about ants from this book.

  4. Read Armies of Ants aloud. Stop whenever appropriate to point out factual information that matches any guessed information listed on the first chart. Note that information from the first chart with a star so that it will be easy to locate later on.

  5. When you have finished the book, ask students to tell you what they know about ants from this story. Write responses on the chart.

  6. If a student suggests information that is inaccurate, reread short sections of the book for reference, clarification, and to help the student adjust his or her response.

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Session Three: Gather Information From the Internet

  1. Direct students toward the Internet Quest: Ants! webpage and read through the directions with students.  Make sure students have notebooks or a word processing file open for notetaking.

  2. Monitor students as they browse the websites, answering any questions. Remind students to save and/or print their answers.

  3. Once students have explored the sites, invite them to share their findings, adding new information to the chart headed "What We Know about Ants."

  4. When Internet exploration is complete, review information on both charts, making comparisons as appropriate. Write "Yes" or "No" next to each guess on the first chart. Add correct information, elicited from student responses, to any items marked with "No."

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Session Four: Record Findings

  1. Start with an opening question: "What are some things that you learned about ants?"

  2. After students have responded, explain to students that they are going to record what they know.

  3. Have students work in groups with parent helpers to record their information on the Animal Study interactive graphic organizer.

  4. Print out the information for students. Alternately, have students record their information on the Animal Study Recording Sheet.

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Session Five: Group Discussion

  1. Gather students together for a discussion.

  2. Have students share what they've learned, not only about animals, but about the information-gathering process itself. Keep this conversation informal, but be sure to address what worked well and what was easiest about the process, and what didn't work or what might have worked better.

  3. Chart any information that might be useful for another time.

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Teacher observation of the following:

  • Participation in discussion

  • Detailed journal entries

  • Engagement in the research process (searching for and recording facts about the animal)

  • Facts and observations included on the Animal Study Recording Sheets

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