Research 101: 5th Grade Explorer Project Help

Step 1: Get Organized
Here is what you need to get going. Be sure to take these items with you whenever you are going to be working on your project.

  • The correct spelling of your explorer’s first and last names. If you don't have the correct spelling, you may not be able to find information on your person. NOTE:  A few explorers might have a couple different ways to spell their names, for example Leif Erikson can also be spelled Ericson or Eriksson.
  • Your 2 column note sheet.
  • A list of your research headings (the information you need to find)
  • A pencil or pen

*Helpful hint: Put all of these items in a special folder or large ziplock bag to keep them all together.
*Helpful hint: a marker or highlighter can be great to use to color code your notes. Use a different color for each heading.

Step 2: Get Your Information: Where can you find what you need?

  • To get a book or encyclopedia article on your explorer, come to the Tewksbury Public Library. We will show you how to search for a book or encyclopedia on him. You can do a search from home or school yourself here on our catalog.   

*Helpful hint: If it says "Available" or "Reshelving" in the catalog, the book is here.  If it says anything else, it is checked out.

  • For online information, you can do a search of your explorer on the great kid-friendly search site: Almost all of your “hits” will be good ones from trusted sites for you to use on your project.
  • You can also use the Library's Biography in Context database site to look up your explorer. You will need a library card number, either yours or a grown up's to access the database from home. Or you can use it at the Library.
  • You can also use the World Book Encyclopedia online by logging in with your library card here. Click on the Info Finder to start your search. 

*Helpful hint: Remember to spell your explorer’s name correctly when you search

Step 3: How to Take Notes

  • First you need to READ! The information you are looking for isn't going to just jump out at you most of the time. Here's the best way to do your reading for information.

1. Look at your headings so you remember what kind of facts you are looking for.

2. Stop to take notes as you go! While you are reading, if you find a fact you know you need, write it down on your sheet with the correct heading. Make sure to read the entire paragraph or section first to get all of the information.

3. Don't forget to write down what source (book, encyclopedia, internet site) you got the information from, including the page number (if there is one) that the information was on.

*Helpful hint: Remember to write under the Sources heading for each book, site or other source you use to find information.

What information are you looking for? Your teacher has given you several headings or subjects to find facts about each explorer. Here's what each one is and means:

  • Heritage. This means what country or country your ancestors (parents, grandparents) are originally from. What country was your explorer born in? Where did he grow up?  *Helpful hint: sometimes an explorer explores for a country DIFFERENT than the one he is from.
  • Family. Look for information about your explorer's parents, brother or sisters, wife or children. Did he have a big family? A little family? Sometimes you won't be able to find the answer to this question because no one knows.
  • Occupation. Your occupation is your job or what you do for work. What did the explorer do before he started exploring? Whas he a scientist? A mapmaker? A carpenter?
  • Significant Explorations. This means what important places did he explore? Did this explorer go on many journeys? Just one? Is there some place special he discovered? Was your explorer looking for something or somewhere specific when he set out on his trip? Did he find it?
  • Contributions to History. What is this explorer remembered for? He might have made many voyages, but normally an explorer is known for finding (or not finding!) some thing or place specific.
  • Influences. Why did your explorer go exploring? Was he paid by someone (a king or queen) to go? Was he inspired by another person to go?
  • Lifetime accomplishments. At the end of your explorer’s life, were there any other things he was famous for or did besides his significant explorations?
  • Additional Information. Did you find out anything else cool or interesting about your explorer that you’d like to share?
  • Sources. These are all the books, encyclopedias, magazines or internet sites you looked at and used to write your notes. You need to write down each source. This page will show you how to write down each source correctly.