Beacon Lesson Plan Library

All About Me-I'm My Own Research Project

Brenda Lazarus
Colleges and Universities - Florida


This lesson is an introduction to teaching students how to do a research project. Students learn how to categorize information about themselves and relate to categorizing information on sea animals for a future research project.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, making lists, mapping ideas, rehearsing ideas, grouping related ideas, story webs).


-Pictures of animals, especially sea animals (or whatever type of animal is going to be studied)
-Stuffed animals, especially sea animals (if available)
-Multimedia computer with Inspiration software v.6 or an overhead projector if computer is not available
-Transparencies for overhead, if Inspiration is not available (see Associated File for template)
-Variety of books about sea animals, fiction and non-fiction


1. Prepare bulletin board with sea setting: beach, sand, water, seaweed, starfish, etc.
2. Locate large colorful pictures of sea animals and other animals from magazines or from the computer. Print or cut out and laminate.
3. Locate a collection of stuffed animals, to include sea animals and other animals (optional).
4. Obtain a variety of trade books featuring sea animals at the appropriate reading levels.
5. Obtain and become familiar with Inspiration software. If not available, an overhead projector may be used as an alternative.
6. Download semantic web templates from the associated file.


1. Have a bulletin board with an ocean scene depicted on display before the students enter the class on the day of the lesson. Next to the bulletin board, perhaps on a desk, place pictures of sea life animals and non-sea life animals. Allow students, one by one, to come and pick an animal that lives in the sea and place it on the bulletin board. Hold up two different animals, a sea animal and a non-sea animal, and ask the students to choose the sea animal. Repeat this process until all students have had a turn.

2. After all the students have had a turn to name the animals that live in the sea, assign animals or have students choose an animal that they would like to research in the future. This can be done individually or in pairs.

3. Use pre-determined categories of information, such as characteristics, habitat, diet, lifecycle, and predators. Begin with what they already know. They should start with themselves, the human animal, and consider the predetermined categories as they relate to themselves. Using Inspiration software or the overhead transparency (see Associated File), display the following guiding questions in the form of a semantic Web:
1) What do I look like?
2) Where do I live?
3) What do I eat?
4) What is my life cycle?
5) What can harm me?

4. Have students provide information on each category either orally or on sentence strips. If using sentence strips, provide students with a copy of the guiding questions. Have students place the sentence strips next to or under the appropriate question. The information will include details that fit under each category. The idea is for the student to recognize the information and place it in its correct category. For example, if you say, "blue eyes," expect the student to place this information under the category of "What do I look like?" In getting the students used to categorizing information about themselves, they can later apply this concept to animals in their research.

5. Go over several oral examples until the students have a firm grasp of the concept. Call on students to share their information providing corrective feedback as needed.

6. Provide instructions for students, using their personal information, to produce their own semantic web, either on Inspiration or another online webbing device. Use the transparencies (see Associated File) as examples for the students to follow.

7. Once the personal semantic Webs are completed, refer to the animals that have been assigned or chosen and ask students to brainstorm any information that they may already know about their animals. This gives them a starting point from which to begin. If they know certain information, there is no need to research the same information. This is a good time to go around and check for understanding and clarify any misunderstood information. Trade books will be used to complete the research project on their chosen sea animals.

8. Instruct students to use the Inspiration software or another webbing online Webbing device and produce a semantic web of their present knowledge about the assigned or chosen sea animal. This outline can now be used in the planning, research, and writing involved in a research project.


Mastery of this lesson is determined if students own personal information and information about their sea animals are properly categorized using Inspiration software or on another webbing device.

Check and verify student information on their personal and sea animal semantic webs. Make sure all information is categorized correctly. Collect and read the information provided for each category and provide feedback to the students.

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


This lesson is designed to be an introduction lesson for a full unit about how to do a research project on sea animals. It could be a stand-alone lesson on categorization of personal information.

Web Links

Educators may order a free trial subscription to this software.

Attached Files

Semantic Web templates for duplication as transparencies     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.