Animal Book Reports with a Twist!

For students of 3rd to 5th grade.

Overarching Goal: Non-fiction reading texts, books and Internet resources, require reading for information skills rather than just entertainment. 

Lesson Summary: Capturing students’ natural attraction to animals, students will choose an animal to research, both in books and Internet resources, and create a PowerPoint presentation to share with classmates. Students will learn to use the class account on, a social book marking Web site, to research information about their chosen animal as well as add valuable Web sites to the account for other classmates to access. Students will discover information about the physical features, life cycle, habitat, eating habits, and additional interesting facts that will be used to create a PowerPoint presentation. They will also create a 3-D model of their chosen animal.

o	Develop non-fiction reading skills using a variety of print and online resources.
o	Main idea and supporting details: Learn to “pull out” important facts and details to use in a PowerPoint presentation.
o	Use and collaborate on a social book marking Web site ( for educational purposes.
o	 Create a presentation using PowerPoint.

•	Books about animals from the classroom and school library
•	Internet access computers – classroom and/or school lab
•	A class/teacher account on
•	PowerPoint
•	Writing journals or other worksheet to record research notes
•	Recycled bottles, jars, containers for the 3D animal art
•	Paper Mache and scraps of newspaper for the animal art
•	Markers or paint for detailing the 3D animals
1.	Show students several books about animals and discuss the print features (photographs, captions, charts, maps, etc). Help students understand that they are reading non-fiction text and discuss the differences between non-fiction and fiction. Explain that they will choose a favorite animal to research and present to the class. 
2.	Using computers, demonstrate the class account. Show how they are to log on, click to available book marks, and add Web sites to the account. Students will be able to access this account from the classroom, school lab, and home. (You may want to send a letter home to parents explaining how to use this social book marking site as well.) 
3.	Model how to take notes while reading both print and Internet resources. Provide time for students to locate information about their chosen animal and record that information in their writing journals. They will need facts and details for five areas: physical features, life cycle, habitat, eating habits, and interesting facts. 
4.	Demonstrate how to create PowerPoint presentations (if your students are not familiar with this program). They will create a minimum of 5 slides; each slide will be one of the five areas researched above. I tell students they must put in the text of the presentation before they can add in the colors, graphics, and sounds. 
5.	Students will create a 3D model of their animal using Paper Mache and a recycled bottle, jar, or other container brought from home. After the Paper Mache has dried, they may color the animal with markers or paints. 

Closing and Assessment:
	The presentations with the 3D models with the class will serve as the closing assessment activity. If possible, post the presentations on the class Web site for parents. I recommend using a rubric to assess the presentation skills (speaking skills), the quality of the PowerPoint slides and 3D model.