Want to teach your upper elementary students how to do research and report their findings but afraid that research projects will be too difficult? Not so long ago that was me too. I knew my students needed to be introduced to research, but everything I tried was just overwhelming. I started brainstorming ideas for easy research projects for elementary students and then this happened – Research Brochures!
Research. It can be a complex topic for our upper elementary students, but also an essential one that we introduce them to. So, how do we choose ideas for research projects that are attainable and doable for them? We break it down for them, scaffold the process, and have them create a project that they will actually be engaged in. Research brochure projects cover all of these bases and more!
What Are Research Brochures?
Research brochures are ideas for research projects that are shorter than an essay, include scaffolded research questions, as well as a visual component. Just like the travel brochures we pick up at the airport or the health brochures we get at the doctor’s office research brochures are meant to educate on a specific topic.
Students pick or are assigned a topic, complete research, and then create a brochure with the most important information on that topic. Research brochures can be used for any subject area such as science, social studies, or even ELA. If there is a topic that can be researched in that subject area, you can create a research brochure.
Why Research Brochures Are Great Ideas For Research Projects
Let’s face it. There are so many steps to a research project. You have to pick a topic, you have to find information on the topic, decide which information is most important to share, and figure out how you are going to present that information to your audience. Phew! No wonder upper elementary students (and their teachers!) can get completely overwhelmed when tackling research projects.
Research Brochures don’t just leave all of this up to students to figure out. Instead, students are guided through this process using a scaffolded research activity.
How Research Brochures Are Different
Research brochures offer an engaging and easily digestible way for your students to conduct research. Since brochures are broken into sections, students can more easily look for specific information on their topic without having to look through ALL of the information on their topic.
If I sent students off to research a U.S. president, they would be overwhelmed with the amount of information they found. But, if I send them off to research a U.S. president knowing they have to find information on their family and accomplishments, it becomes much less intimidating.
Within each section, you can even provide sentence starters, provide outlines, and focus the scope of writing.
Conducting research can be fatiguing. It is a new skill that has a lot of components. Guiding and supporting them through this process makes for a great research introduction.
Guiding the research process doesn’t mean you have to be involved in every step. Instead, choosing a research project, like research brochures, that have the guidance and support built-in will make this manageable for you too!
Make Research Fun
We want research to be fun! Something that our students actually want to do. After all, it is these same skills that are applied in everyday life and a key component to being successful life-long learners.
So, providing students with a way to show off what they learned in a creative manner is key. In their brochures, students will do more than just write. They can add diagrams, drawings, maps, and/or pictures. Plus, this is a great way for them to practice all of those non-fiction text features! They can also color or decorate the pages to make them more eye-catching.
So in my book, research brochures are a win-win. Students get to learn the difficult skill of research in a way that doesn’t feel so intimidating and that actually gets them excited!
Using the Research Projects In Your Elementary Classroom
Here’s how I use research brochures in my classroom to help students be successful with the research process.
Choosing and Introducing the Topic
First, I decide on an overarching topic that I want students to research. This usually connects to something we are learning in science or social studies. I choose a very broad topic so that each student has some choice for their more narrowed down topic.
For example, I would choose the topic of U.S. presidents. With that topic, students can pick any U.S. President they want to research. They get to have some autonomy when it comes to their work, but we can move more quickly to the heart of research.
I do my best to pair the research topic with content we have been learning such as completing a U.S. presidents research brochure after completing social studies lessons on the executive branch of the government. This way students have some background knowledge that they can pull from when beginning to conduct their research.
Then I introduce my students to the topic. I try to make this as exciting and engaging as possible. Some ways you can do this are with videos, games, or a even a scavenger hunt to figure out the topic.
Teaching About Research
If this is the first time I am attempting these ideas for research projects with my students, I complete mini-lessons on the following topics:
- Picking a topic
- Finding relevant sources (navigating the library)
- Credible sources (focused on Internet sources)
- Non-fiction text features
From there, students get their brochure which has sub-topics, questions, and visuals for them to complete throughout their research.
We start our research in the school library so that students can practice finding and using text-based sources. Then we complete our research using the Internet. When just starting out, I suggest providing a list of websites that students can navigate to in order to find the information they need. As students become more comfortable with research, you could fade this list out.
Show Off the Final Project
After students complete their research brochure I always incorporate a way for students to share what they have learned. You could have a gallery walk where students browse the brochures of their classmates. You could also have them present their brochures under a document camera and share the most interesting fact they found.
One of my favorite ways is to extend the sharing to the whole school by copying their brochures and leaving them in the hall for other students to learn from! You can also plan a special event for students to present their brochures to parents.
6 Done for You Research Projects for Elementary Students
Ready to try a research brochure project but don’t have the time to create one from scratch? No worries! I’ve created several research brochure resources that you can print and use in your classroom! From presidents to the North Pole, you are sure to find something your students will love! Check them all out below.
1. Black History Month Research
This Black History Brochures resource contains brochures for 30 black Americans that have made an impact in history. Perfect for Black History Month! Your students will enjoy researching these well known and not so well known Americans.
2. U.S. Geography Research
Your students will enjoy these US States Mini Research Brochures research projects that cover all 50 states. A great addition to your U.S. geography unit, a focused unit on your state, or U.S. history unit. with these !
3. A Winter Research Project
This Travel Brochure to the North Pole research project will get your students researching about this magical and wonderful place. It’s a wonderful way to practice those research skills before the holiday break when students have difficulty focusing on other things.
4. A Spring Research Project
This St. Patrick’s Day Travel Brochure will get your students writing and researching about the wonderful country of Ireland. A great way to connect research with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. You can also add this to your unit on countries and cultures.
5. U.S. Presidents
Your students will love picking a president and researching more about their life in this US Presidents Research Activity. A great guided research project for your U.S. history or government unit.
6. Famous Women in History
This Women’s History Month Activity resource contains 30 brochures highlighting American women that have made an impact in history. Perfect for Women’s History Month in March or any time of the year.
Save These Easy Research Projects for Elementary Students
Make sure to pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you will have everything you need to introduce research projects to your upper elementary students!