Spotlight on Research Skills

Grade 2 students learn about the world beyond Barstow through a project that crosses all curriculums. For their biome research report, students study the grasslands, tundra, forest and desert. Each student chooses a biome and dives deep into researching its plants and animals and how they adapt to the climate and geography of that particular area.
"It's their first time finding their own information, choosing what's interesting and relevant," says grade 2 teacher Mallory Plungkhen. "They're really in charge of their learning for the first time."

The five paragraph paper requires proper structure and writing conventions, including opening and closing sentences, details and a summary. It also helps students develop their individual writer's voice.

"Without voice sprinkled into a piece like this, one student's report on the desert can quickly sound just like another's. They learn how to incorporate a bold opinion into a topic sentence, how to end a paragraph with an engaging question and how to use humor to fit in the weird and fascinating facts they are dying to share," she says.

Students incorporate math by determining annual rainfall amounts; they incorporate technology using apps to make photo presentations. The biome project is one of the year's most popular activities. Students develop a love for exploring the world right from their second grade classroom.