Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Let's Go Fact Fishing!

Marci Greene
Colleges and Universities - Florida


In groups students use the Internet, encyclopedias, and resource books to research animals in the ocean. Each group creates an information sheet with a photo of the animal and three facts about the animal, that culminates in a summary paragraph.


The student uses a variety of reference materials to gather information, including multiple representations of information for a research project (for example, maps, charts, photos).

The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).


- Paper
- Pencils
- Paper for the information sheet
- Six computers with Internet connection
- One copy of attached file for each team
- Chart paper
- Markers
- Diskette for each team if you can't save work on your computer system
- Slips of paper for names


1. Gather materials and resource books.(Teacher will need time to gather resource books.)
2. Put names on paper for students to choose the name of their partner out of a bag. (Note: You may want to make two bags based on ability level and have a little more control over who is partnered with who i.e. a low level student with a higher level student.)
3. Put names on paper of animals and put in a fish bowl.
4. Plan an area or computer for each group.
5. Write the questions on chart paper for use in modeling.
6. Have computer station prepared to model online research for class to view all steps involved.
7. Teacher may want to use just one search engine for the Internet search such as


Day One:
1. Do first two steps of KWL through group discussion (taking notes on large post-it, easel size) about what students already know, and what they want to know about animals that live in the ocean.

2. Explain step by step instructions as follows to students:

A. First each student will draw a partner's name out of a bag.
B. Then one of the partners will draw an animal out of a fish bowl. The choices will be as follows: 2 whales, 2 great white sharks, 2 hammer head sharks, 2 stingrays, 2 walrus, and 2 seals.
C. The students will then be given the attached worksheets; one with questions and one template for information sheet.
D. Have students find out who else is working on the same animal and have them get together and look over the questions.
E. Explain to them that they will need to find the answers to these questions and also download a picture of the animal from the Internet for the worksheet.

3. Gather students back to their tables and get them to focus on you as you model the steps of the online research. With overhead or TV display of computer desk top start from the beginning and go online. To demonstrate, use the example of a manatee. Use the search engine that is available at your school and search key word 'manatee'. Show students how to find particular information by searching using more than one word, for example 'picture and manatee' to find pictures. Another example: 'habitat and manatee.'
Explain to students how to look for reliable information for example encyclopedia articles, newspaper articles, university sites, etc.
Demonstrate how to right click on a picture, copy it, and save it for their document. Demonstrate how to skim an article for only the information thay are looking for.
F. Explain three centers: 1. Computers/internet 2. Encyclopedias 3. Resource books

Day Two:

1. Briefly review by having students explain what they are to do for their research.

2. Have them get with their partners, assign them a starting center, and have them work on their assignment sheets. Students will rotate to next center after 20 - 30 minute intervals. Teacher should determine if center time needs to be longer based upon the needs of students in the class. It would also be possible to spread the centers over the 3 days, allotting 20 - 30 minutes a day, one day for each center.

Day Three:
1. Review by asking students to share facts they have found.

2. Review components of a paragraph dealing with focus. Although indenting, main sentence, punctuation, and extraneous information should be discussed/reviewed, they are not assessed in these paragraphs.

3. Write a sample paragraph together based on facts gathered on the manatee. Emphasize focusing on the information from the research.

4. Students work with their partners to write a paragraph about the sea animal based on the facts they learned.

5. Review and have students make revisions.

Day Four:

1. Have students present their fact sheets with pictures to the class. Post paragraphs on bulletin board.

2. Refer back to KWL chart made on day one and review what was learned from this project.

3. Copy the fact sheets for the class to make their own Ocean Facts booklet.


Use the grading rubric in the attached file. The information sheet will be documentation of cooperative efforts, information managers, and systems manager. Summary paragraphs will be formatively assessed to make sure students have focused on the facts and have assembled the information in an organized, accurate manner. Students who have difficulty should be allowed extra time or individual feedback from the teacher in order to create the paragraph correctly.

Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


1. Allow students who are skilled at using the computer be a peer teacher to another team.
2. Allow a team that isn't used to working on a computer to sit with a skilled team and observe the steps.
3. If some students finish quicker than others then alternative activities can be used such as; reading a library book on sea life, listening to a taped book on sea life, or making a picture of a sea animal.
4. Combine 2 teams and have the students use Inspiration to create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting their animals.
5. Have teams develop a mini-research paper on their animal.
6. Student teams could create a PowerPoint slide including a picture and facts about the animal researched and then all slides could be combined for a powerpoint show.

Web Links

Web supplement for Let's Go Fact Fishing!
Sea World

Web supplement for Let's Go Fact Fishing!

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