Science Unit Research Assignment

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At the beginning of each new Science unit, I have my students flip through the pages of their textbook, writing down any questions that come to mind that they don't know the answers to. I call them "Curiosity Questions" because all good scientists never stop asking questions and being curious.

Throughout each Science unit, I want my students to become better researchers, and I want them to keep asking more questions. To help them do this in a productive way, I created the Science Unit Research Assignment. Their goal is to use their Curiosity Questions to come up with topics to research. They can research the answer to their question, or they can discover anything else they find interesting.

>> Click to view/print the Research Assignment student sheet

Research Assignment Criteria:
  • Pick three different topics.
  • Write down one interesting fact about each topic.
  • Cite reliable sources (using MLA format; examples below, some adjusted slightly)
Due date: The students may finish it anytime before the end of each unit. The student will present their three interesting facts to the class, and I will collect their form after they present their findings.


How do I know if the source is reliable?

This is something you should ask Mr. Riedl if you are not sure. You may email him or ask him in class. Wikipedia is a good place to start, however, you may not cite Wikipedia as your source (read: my article about Wikipedia). If you find something interesting on Wikipedia, try to find its original source via in-text citations or the reference list at the bottom of the article. If you find the original source, it is typically something reliable.

For example, if I go to the Wikipedia page about "squid", I see that it links to a Scientific American article about squid "flying" out of the water. Because Scientific American is a reliable source, I find an interesting fact in the article, and I choose to cite it as my source.

Other reliable sources students might find interesting:
- National Geographic
- NASA
How Stuff Works
- BBC Earth
- Discovery Education
- NOVA & PBS
- American Museum of Natural History
- Science Magazine
- Science News & Science News for Students
- Popular Science


How do I cite reliable sources?

Books, Magazines (more info)

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book/Magazine. Location: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print or E-book.

Websites (more info)

Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Name of Website. Date written. <http://URL>



Interview With An Expert (more info)

If interviewed by a third-party, like TV/Radio program:
Interviewee's Name. Title of Program [Format description]. Credibility of expert. Date of interview.

If you interviewed the expert:
Interviewee's Name. Personal interview. Credibility of expert. Date of interview.

YouTube Videos (more info)

Author's Name or Username. "Title of Video." YouTube. Date posted. <http://URL>


What if there is no author or date listed?

No author:   Replace the author with the title of the article.
No date:   Write n.d. if there is no date listed.



Other Questions?   Feel free to contact Mr. Riedl!



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