Fisher Third Graders Go In-Depth

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Fisher Third Graders Go In-Depth on Research Project
Posted on 05/16/2022

When third-grade students at Fisher Elementary recently stepped up to the cafeteria microphone—and keep in mind access to the school microphone presents a special moment for an elementary school student—to share about a social studies research project, they did so with confidence and poise.


Third-grade teacher Krista Williams says the type of project her Fisher class completed just couldn't have happened in the days of the pandemic, so she was especially excited about its success. The in-depth research and collaboration of a multi-week unit studying the culture and history of Native Americans culminated in another piece that had been missing for her students in the recent years: a presentation to parents. 


For Williams' social studies unit, she split her class into four groups, each assigned to a region in the United States for the purpose of studying Native American history in that part of the country. Each student within the team had a role, whether to research food and shelter, economy, traditions, folklore or more. Within every team, each student had multiple roles. 


"Last year with Covid, I didn't get to do much with group work or teams," says Williams, a second-year teacher. "I think coming into this year and being able to work in teams, that is something that I really wanted to let them do. They really took on the responsibility." 


The groups worked diligently researching for weeks from multiple sources, compiling it all into a poster they built together. They then presented their projects to their parents. 


Williams says she was impressed at how invested the students were in their projects. "They were really excited to research about their specific area and then they were also really excited to be able to make their posters," she says. "To be able to present it, they felt like they had accomplished his huge thing because it was a research project, something I told them college students do." 


With the success from group work in social studies, Williams says she hopes to incorporate more research and group projects throughout the class. She noticed that during this project, students were more engaged and willing to read articles above their reading level because they were searching for new information. "I am realizing how many opportunities there are to do this sort of thing and have the ability to research, work in teams and collaborate with each other," she says. 


The presentation time was a success too, with a bounty of parents showing and how serious the students took the event. The students spent time memorizing what they wanted to say and approached it with a nervous excitement. 


"They truly knew what they were talking about having spent weeks researching and writing," Williams says. "I was half-expecting them to just read their poster word-for-word, but they were able to get up and just talk about it because they knew it. I loved being able to share that with parents, it was a cool end-of-unit thing."