Research Skills Grades K – 5

Primary students need to understand the basics of research in grades K-5.  They need to know basic Internet skills, such as how to operate a computer, understand computer terminology, use Word or Google docs to share their learning.  They will also need to know important safety guidelines for accessing information online, and how to become a digital citizen.  As we scaffold the learning experiences for our younger students we can help them learn to take small risks within safe parameters.

To encourage your students to become safe online citizens please have them discover the Unit Study on Bullying and Digital Citizenship.  This kit will prepare them for further research skills.  (To find the password to borrow unit study kits, please log in to the Search Portal and choose Subscriptions from the menu.)

Digital Citizenship & Bullying Unit Study Kits

Digital Citizenship & Bullying Unit Study Kits

The new BC Modernized Curriculum incorporates Inquiry as a means of helping our students move into the next chapter of learning.  The breakdown, as shared by the Galileo Foundation of Learning, shows that there are three types of Inquiry learning.  They include the Universal Inquiry Model, the Minimally Guided Model and the Discipline-Based Model.

Universal Inquiry Model

It is in the Universal Inquiry model  where students enjoy hands-on learning, actively creating and sharing their learning with the world, as opposed to passively learning the information.  As our students become junior detectives, we can take a step back and let them become the experts.  This helps them move towards the deeper content, while learning technology to enhance understanding.  Learning how to capture our students’ voices digitally will bring confidence and an ability to enhance their learning.  Watch this great video under universal inquiry from the Galileo model to gain an understanding of the teacher role and student role.

Ways to do this in our homeschooling environment:

  • Take advantage of all the amazing resources we have collated for you in our Learning Commons to tie into their natural questions and passions.  These materials include Capstone Publications, workbooks with inquiry-style flow, and inquiry-based picture books.
  • Work with your teacher to help outline different projects, which may allow for a deeper level of learning.  Some of the project-based learning workbooks will allow for this inquiry model, but will still require active student engagement.
  • Choose one of our science or social studies kits to find ‘wondering’ questions, activities and projects.
  • Choose homeschooling curriculum which lends itself to this pedagogy, such as  Charlotte Mason, unit studies, Montessori, classical, eclectic.  To learn more about the different types of homeschooling click on this post.
  • Choose a theme, by finding an interest for your primary student using picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. For example, if you wanted to start the school learning about apples, read some books about apples.  Learn math by cutting apples into sections and percentages.  Learn about seasonal changes that go with apples and fall. Write a recipe for apple sauce.
  • Parents/teachers keep a journal of your students’ learning.  From regular observation you note behaviour and actions, and record questions and interests. The journals provide a record of steps taken, questions asked, and parental observations. They enable the parent and the child to reflect on and discuss projects that have been done, and remind children of other interests and questions that they may have forgotten, otherwise. They also show the child that their work is important, and worthy of your investment of time and attention.
  • Environment is extremely important.  Great lighting, quality materials and suitable furnishings are essential. The space should be inviting and comfortable, encouraging your child to work on their projects. Your child must be easily able to access what they need, to feel secure in using the space, and not need to stress about making messes.
  • Contact Pippa Davies (your friendly librarian) for help using our research databases.
  • Take your students on field trips so they can explore the experts on their topic, or contact the expert via mail or Skype.
  •  As your student engages in the research process you can encourage them to journal about their research using Google docs, or  Explora and the tool, ‘My Folder’.  Encourage your student to identify one topic that interests them.  Help your student to identify with what interests them, and how it can perhaps help others in their research.  Identify what they know and what they need to know more about. Then get your student to write down three questions they need to learn more about.  Discuss search engines and databases that could be useful.  Lastly assess for content, validity of sources and sense of accomplishment and interest.

Minimally Guided Theory (MakerEd)

The second method of Inquiry is called the Minimally Guided Theory or MakerEd, as we call it in our Learning Commons.  Minimally guided means, as the words imply, that the student comes up with his or her own student-driven questions, which provoke natural curiosity and drive learning.  Students learn concepts without being taught them, per se.  So an example might be asking a student to design a bridge or a boat which floats.  They would research the topic and present their own findings, based on what they were trying to prove in their essential question.  The teacher really takes a back seat in this learning, maybe just presenting one idea and then letting the student discover and research the rest.  It can be messy, as students learn it’s okay to keep making mistakes.

Ways to do this in our homeschooling environment:

  • Find out what things your student would like to make, based on the Big Ideas in the curriculum.  Chat with your teacher to define that learning, and what it might look like.
  • Check out the amazing resources we have on the Core Competencies within our Commons to help your student find an essential question that pertains to making something, or designing something.
  • Read the book Invent to Learn which outlines the history of making and the pedagogy behind it. Or read Project-Based Homeschooling in our Learning Commons.
  • Borrow some of our MakerEd materials (Dash robots, K’Nex) from the Learning Commons to get some ideas.
  • Work with another family who has the same interests as your student, so you can learn together.
  • Tie into learning at a Learning Group:  Community Connections centre, Learning Camp, or sign up your student to join a Virtual Inquiry Book Club.

Students should understand the basics of computer terminology.  In BrainPOP have your primary student watch the following videos under the tab Computer Science:

  • Computer Mouse
  • Computers
  • Internet
  • Internet Search
  • Printers
  • Robots

Books On OverDrive eLibrary

Primary students need to understand the basics of research in grades K-5.

They will need to know how to define a problem, locate information in their school library or database of choice, select appropriate resources, organize their notes and present their work to their peers.  They will also need to understand how to accept feedback from their peers and edit their work for mistakes.  Basic introduction to preparing a cited list of references is required using MLA standards.

This website walks you through the process step by step.

Follow this KYVL child-friendly site to see the search in action.

Research template Gr 4 – 9 Use this template to help plan your projects.

Use Search engines and databases that will help your student search safely.

For the databases below, you will find the username and password at

Digital Citizenship Process for Reducing Risk with Social Media and Privacy

Before your students use social media have them watch the following video from Friendly Screens animation.  This will help with privacy issues.

Disney video to learn about online safety.

RightNow Media also has videos on bullying with the McGee and Me! series.  For an invitation to access the RightNow Media site, please email Beth Johnson.

Some other materials you can find on Overdrive e Library include the following: Ellray Jakes, the Dragon Slayer! by Sally Warner and Growing Up Online by NBC News for all three sections.

Safety on the Net:

Be Safe on the Internet by Bridget Heos

Being a Good Digital Citizen:

The Defeat of the Cyberbully by Ben Halpert

What is Bullying and What can I Do About It?:

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully by Audrey Penn

Digital Citizenship & Bullying Unit Study Kits

Digital Citizenship & Bullying Unit Study Kits

In grades K-5 the expectation is that students will have at least two sources to share in their list of references at the end of their project.  Students will learn how to create a title page, a contents list (if necessary), number their pages, insert an image (cite that image) and create a list of references at the end of their project using this chart for MLA standards.

Easy Bib has a great video lesson on citations for beginners.

Easy Bib also has simple design and will help students quickly and easily cite their sources using this web tool if they prefer using a digital tool.

What is Media Literacy?  To understand the definition and reasons why Media Literacy is important go to the MediaSmarts page on Media Literacy education

Lesson plans on Media Literacy:

Media Literacy:

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