Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Research Project: Going Batty!

We started a cool research project in a 1st grade classroom using bats as our focus.  I am going to document the activities here, but you can take these ideas and apply to any topic you'd like your kids to research.

We started by reading the story Stellaluna by Janell Cannon.  You can read the book, or use this fun video from StorylineOnline.  (It's the lady from Kindergarten Cop!)

We then used the Scholastic News Let's Find Out! issue about bats and birds to learn a little more about the similarities and differences.  If you don't have access to this, I suggest checking it out! AWESOME leveled resources that are super great for using with an interactive whiteboard!  It is about $5 per student, but here's a hint: I barely ever used the paper copies, I just like accessing the digital tools (and cool iPad app!).  So order the minimum number of subscriptions (which is 5) and you could have access to this tool for around $25!  Wahoo!

We recorded our ideas into a Venn diagram to discuss the differences between bats and birds.  We made one whole group, then had the students use the Feltboard app to create their own Venn diagrams.  The whole group Venn diagram creation would be a great opportunity to use your interactive whiteboard!  Create a Venn diagram, letting kids share the pen during interactive writing. You can use a template from your interactive whiteboard software (like Mimio Notebook) or pull a Venn diagram pdf into the interactive whiteboard software to write on.  They can save these to their camera rolls and publish to their Kidblog or other digital portfolio, if they are keeping one of these (which is so cool!)

Another idea is to use the app PicCollage for Kids to have them make a collage of birds and bats and add a fact about each.  I use the PicCollage for Kids app so they can use the web image search to safely add images to their collages.

To begin making a PicCollage, they tap the + sign to create a new collage.  Once in the blank collage, use the + sign to add elements like photos from the camera roll, web images, text, stickers, etc.

Students can adjust their font, size, color, etc and type into the area where the X is marked below:

We also utilized this theme in math class, using the free app Doodle Buddy to have students create equations using bats and birds.  Their job to to make an equation where there were less birds than bats.

Again, these can be saved to the students' camera rolls and uploaded to a blog or digital portfolio.  Wahoo!

The next part of our research project will be using the YouTubeKids app to safely search for information on bats.  They will type in: bat facts and see a series of videos with facts about bats.  
We will give them time to watch several of the videos, making note of facts they are learning about bats.  They could take notes while watching.  We will then meet whole group to discuss what we learned and create an anchor chart to use for students to use for their writing project.  We will use pages from this fun bat unit that I downloaded for FREE at Teachers Pay Teachers.  (Click the image to visit the Tpt page.) 

We will create the adorable bat craftivity from this unit, as well, and connect it to a video.  More about that later ... :)


  1. You could also access World Book Online (most schools have a subscription) and the FREE state provided EBSCO databases. Talk to your Teacher Librarian for excellent, FREE resources.