Making Great Research Assignments

While students love exploring with instaGrok, we find that they learn most effectively if provided some instruction and structure. The instaGrok assignment functionality is a great way to get your students started.

But what makes a good research assignment? Here are some examples of assignments from instaGrok teachers, which we hope will give you some ideas:

1. “Essential Question:  If you cannot see air, how can you prove that it is there? Search all of the properties of air. Discover how you can prove that air exists.”

Ask your students a thought provoking, open-ended question. Follow this question up with a few suggestions about where to start the search. This will help students develop critical information literacy and assessment skills. They will need to think strategically about how to best answer this type of question, and be discerning as they go the different resources.

2. “Propose your own amendment to the Constitution.  Research a current government issue, something that you feel should be made a permanent part of the Constitution. Write a 100 word summary about the issue. Create an outline of arguments for and against your proposed addition to the Constitution. Create a plan detailing which method you would use to get your amendment proposed and ratified. ”

Tying the research to pertinent current events (“current government issue”) makes the assignment feel more alive and engaging for students. Guidelines for structuring the writing (“outline of arguments for and against”) help students focus their inquiry and understand which questions to ask.

3.  “In this project you will research a famous musician from the old days. You will need to present your information in a fun way. You can have videos, and images. I would like for you to explain all of the basic information of the musician. Is he or she still alive? When were they born, When did they die? How did they die? What style of music?Where did they live or where were they born? What are their biggest songs? Were they ever in movies? What about other interesting information? Remember: Who, What, When, Where, How. ”

Letting students pick a famous historical person gives students creative freedom to write about someone they are interested in, as well as potentially motivating them to share what they have learned with one another. As before, including ideas for questions to ask helps guide their inquiry.

You can always attach one of your groks (with a few pinned sites, notes, etc) to the assignment, giving your students a place to start.

Did you know that you can also have your student create concept maps and evaluate sources for credibility, while you can review their progress in the teacher dashboard?

Use instaGrok as an alternative to Google or other online search tools. instaGrok is a safe, education focused research engine that offers to high quality, educational content. If your students are writing research papers, instaGrok encourages them to think critically, and offers them a platform to develop important literacy skills.


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