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Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

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Lesson Plan

Investigating Animals: Using Nonfiction for Inquiry-based Research

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Investigating Animals: Using Nonfiction for Inquiry-based Research

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Devon Hamner

Devon Hamner

Grand Island, Nebraska


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives





  • Access to the Internet

  • LCD Projector for full-class use of online Interactives

  • Quality nonfiction, informational picture books and videos

  • Chart tablets, journals, markers, and other writing materials

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Animal Inquiry

Grades   3 – 6  |  Student Interactive  |  Inquiry & Analysis

Animal Inquiry

Supporting inquiry-based research projects, the Animal Inquiry interactive invites elementary students to explore animal facts and habitats using writing prompts to guide and record their findings.


Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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  • Bookmark the Websites about animals from the Resources section as well as any other sites of your choosing.

  • Assemble supplies listed above. Ask your school librarian for help gathering books and videos. The Nature Series videos such as “A First Look” distributed by Diamond Entertainment Corporation and the National Geographic Kids videos series are good options.

  • Prepare a chart with the heading: “What We Wonder about Animals.” Students will later add headings and supporting questions to define the scope of their research.

  • Choose an audience so that the students have a clear idea of exactly who they will be sharing their findings with. Examples might include visitors to a science fair, family members at an open house, and another class of grade-level students. Good writing comes when children research and write on a topic they care about for an authentic and interested audience with whom they want to share their findings.

  • Arrange for adult volunteers to serve as scribes or keyboardists as needed.

  • Because the Animal Inquiry student interactive will not allow students to save work, for the research phase of the project, print out blank forms from the interactive. Click the Print tab on the opening page and choose the pages you want to print. You can also record these headings and supporting questions on your “What We Wonder about Animals” chart. This will be the basis for the graphic organizers students will create using the interactive to document the findings of their research.

  • For a few days before beginning the inquiry lesson, give students an opportunity to experience a variety of informational texts through a genre study of nonfiction by exploring nonfiction, informational texts about animals during read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading during reading workshop.

  • Test the Animal Inquiry student interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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