Researching Research


Julie Garcia


This unit was developed at Memorial Academy in the Spring of 1996 in conjunction with the San Diego Unified School District's Triton Project, a Challenge Grant funded by the U. S. Department of Education.

Focus: Researching global discoveries in oceanography for tomorrow's world

The oceans cover three-quarters of the earth's surface and are vital for the functioning of our planet. They provide food, transportation, recreation, and vital natural resources that affect our everyday lives. By studying our oceans we can gain a deeper understanding of the global changes happening around us. Many advanced research projects are currently in progress at places such as Sea World and Scripps Institute of Oceanography to further our understanding of the ocean and its splendors.

Content Areas and Grades

This unit is geared towards seventh grade math and science. Students study different projects currently underway and are given first hand experience to the scientific method.

Organizing Theme

Students practice research skills by studying the research of other scientists. Scientific discoveries are constantly underway and students can feel a part of them. Students are exposed to the way research is done and how scientists use the scientific method in their jobs. The relevance of the scientific method becomes a reality as students see it being used in the "real world."

Objectives and Curriculum Standards

This assignment encourages critical thinking skills along with research skills as required by the California, San Diego, and other frameworks. Students will become experts at the following tasks. Objectives Standards

Considering the New Standards Project, students will be meeting several standards as they progress through this unit. The following math and science standards will be met while working on this unit.

Implementation Overview

Depending on the background of your students this unit can take anywhere from five days to two months. For beginners you may need to spend considerable time introducing the prerequisite skills associated with ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, and/or WebWeaver with a series of mini lessons. The final project requires certain technology skills and it is important that the students are proficient in at least one of these applications. The individual unit lessons can be scheduled according to classroom needs.

Material Resources Needed

Students will need access to certain resources.

Human Resources Needed

One teacher is sufficient for completing this particular unit. Any outside resources are encouraged. Taking a field trip to an aquarium such as Steven Birch Aquarium or having a scientist come talk to the class would be helpful. Technical support may be needed for the more advanced telecommunicating tasks.

Entry Level Skills and Knowledge

Students must possess basic computer and keyboarding skills. They will also need to be comfortable using ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, and/or WebWeaver. Since the students have a choice of programs to use for their final project the teacher should be proficient with ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, and WebWeaver. In addition, use of E-mail will be required.

Outline of Activities

The first three lessons are intended to give students the opportunity to explore and research using the Internet and e-mail system. The remainder of time is spent by the students working on their final presentations.

Day 1Introducing the Internet
Day 2Students research topics specific to oceanography
Day 3Students send E-mail to a scientist
Day 4-?Students begin working on their final products.


Students can earn up to 100 points for completing the assignments for this unit.

Possible Variations

This unit is very flexible and can be adapted by a teacher in many ways. It is set up as a generic guideline for researching. This same structure could be used for researching any topic. Also, it may be desired to limit which computer program the students may use for their final project or use an alternative such as PageMaker or Word.


This is a very exciting unit in which students research using the Internet and process the gathered information using technology. The knowledge acquired by the students is something above and beyond the typical research.
Last updated on September 20, 1996.

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