Investigate and Gather- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


  • Generating Questions 

    The Identify stage is a challenging, important, exciting phase in the inquiry process.

    With teacher/librarian assistance, students will generate questions, and the librarian will work with students to group them into categories. Using a SMART Board or Google Doc will provide flexibility to move ideas around on the page.

    Ask students to write one or two questions that interest them in their research journal.

    Questions can be posted throughout the Gather and Create Phases to remind students about the class research questions.

  • Resources

    Google Doc

    Student journals

    "I wonder" statements from the Open phase; post-it notes from the Explore phase and any other "notes" and questions that have been recorded

  • Academic Vocabulary

    Throughout the unit, record academic vocabulary on chart paper or a Google document and refer back to it.

    English               Spanish

    questions           preguntas

    research             investigación


  • Using iPads to Document Research

    In order to collect photos for the Create and Share phases, distribute an iPad to pairs of students. As these students travel together from one center to the next, they can document their research journey by taking pictures.


    Students will visit stations to learn more about reducing, reusing and recycling, and to gather information to answer class-generated research questions. 

    Additional Ideas for the Gather Phase

    School custodians are an excellent resource for answering questions about recycling at the school. Consider interviewing a custodian as part of the research process. See the Interview an Expert tab under Additional Resources for a sample interview.

    A "field trip" to the cafeteria during lunch to observe students throwing away or recycling items would be a great addition to the Gather phase. The recycling bins outside would be another potential source of information.

    cafeteria tables


    The librarian/teacher may allow students to choose the stations they visit, or students may be required to visit all of the stations for a specified period of time. Student choice typically increases motivation and engagement, but a disadvantage may be that students will only want to visit the Reuse Stations where they make a reusable craft. This disadvantage can be mitigated by making certain stations (e.g., Print Resources Station) a requirement and others a choice.

    It will be necessary for a staff member (preferably the classroom teacher) to facilitate the Print Resources Station since students will need to navigate materials at that station that they may have difficulty reading independently.


    Authentic Audience / Purpose

    To provide students with an authentic audience for their work, this unit could be tied to Earth Day, and the second graders could present their research findings to younger students or students from another campus (via Skype) on that day.

  • Resources


    research journals


    materials for each station

  • Station 1: Print Resources

    Students explore print resources, utilize text features, cite sources, and take brief notes. This station should be facilitated by a staff member.


    Print Resources Notes Sheet

    • print books
    • research journal
    • handouts
    • pencils
    • staff member to facilitate this station

    table with books

  • Station 2: Electronic Resources



  • Station 3: Sorting

    Students will use the handout to investigate what is and is not accepted for recycling. They will put items in the appropriate receptacle and then check their work by scanning QR codes.


    Accepted and Not Accepted for Recycling / Items & QR Codes

    • Items from the accepted and not accepted categories (see handout)
    • QR codes
    • clean trashcan
    • clean recycling bin
    • iPads
    • QR code reader such as i-nigma


    To Do
    • Print handouts and QR codes
    • Gather recyclable and non-recyclable items and affix QR codes to them 


    table with recycling materials                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  • Station 4: Reuse

    Students will use scrap materials to create a craft. They will reflect on their work by answering questions (see Reuse / Craft handout).


    • Samples of completed crafts
    • toilet paper rolls (one per student)
    • scrap materials (e.g., leftover construction paper remnants from teacher workroom)
    • scissors
    • glue sticks
    • iPads
    • research journals


    To Do 

    • Gather supplies
    • Print handout

    table with materials to be recycled

Phase: Investigate & Gather
  • This phase is intended to:

    Allow students to develop question/s of personal interest and have time to gather relevant information to answer the question/s.

    Key ideas:

    • Encourage authentic questions (connected to real life, real world problems)
    • Assist students in refining/revising questions (6th-12th)
    • Encourage use of primary and secondary sources
    • Note taking 
    • Cite sources