Fifth grade students should begin to practice their research skills. They should also be pretty familiar with computers and the Internet. To make research more fun you can use famous holidays such as Thanksgiving as the basis of research projects like this one.
Instruct students on how to do research on the Internet. Give them a few web addresses for search engines. Google and Yahoo are two of the best. Teach them a little bit about keywords and how to use them to pull up the most relevant search results. You are going to use the topic "How to Cook a Turkey" to demonstrate how research is done. Ask the students for some keywords that they could use to pull up the information they need to know how to cook a turkey. Write these keywords on the board.
Type in each keyword one at a time and put a check next to the one that has the best results. Some keywords you may want to try are turkey recipe, cooking turkey, and Thanksgiving dinner.
Provide each student with a form to fill out. The sheet should have a place for ingredients or items needed, a place for the steps, serving size, and a place for the cooking time. You can make a form up easily on your computer and photocopy it for as many students as you have.
Give your students the rest of the class time to do the research and fill out the form. Make sure students put their name and the date on the top of the page.
Homework and Grading
Give them another Thanksgiving recipe such as "How to Bake a Pumpkin Pie" or "How to Make Homemade Stuffing" as a homework assignment. Make sure the children know they can't get the recipe from their parents and that they must get it from the research they do online.
Grade each assignment based on whether the information is complete or not. The particular recipe the student chooses to use is not important. In fact, you may get many different recipes on how to cook a turkey. The assignment should have a complete list of items needed, an oven temperature, a number of servings, time needed to cook, and full set of step by step instructions. Decide ahead of time how many points you are going to take off for missing information.
This research project does not need to be done in the student's own words. It is just to get them used to the process of researching. You can then move on to assignments that require students to research and then write up reports in their own words.