Research 101: 5th Grade Biography 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 person’s first and last names. If you don't have the correct spelling, you may not be able to find information on your person. 
  • 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 or her. 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 on your person 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 Gale Kids Infobits database site to look up your person. 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. Click on the box labeled "Student" to begin your search, but you can also select "Kids" if you want less information or an easier reading level. 

*Helpful hint: Remember to spell your person'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 person. 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 person born in? Where did he or she grow up?  
  • Family. Look for information about your person's parents, brother or sisters, wife or children. Did he or she 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 your person do? Did they have more than one job? Did they start doing one job and change to another one?
  • Accomplishments. This refers to what things of note that your person has done. Did she win the Nobel Prize? Did he successfully win a battle? 
  • Contributions to History or Science. What is this person remembered for? He or she may have invented something, been the leader of a country, explored a new area, been the first to do something. What are they best remembered for?
  • Influences. Why did your person become what they became? Were they inspired by someone else to invent or explore or lead?
  • Additional Information. Did you find out anything else cool or interesting about your person 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.