Research Projects for My 1st and 3rd Graders

Ashamedly I haven’t maintained this blog though I’ve had plenty of reason to.  Rather than try to catch you up I’m just going to tell you what we did today.

I came up with this brilliant idea to incorporate my sons love of technology (i.e. iPads) into their lesson today.  I titled my whiteboard “Research:  Healthy Apple Snack Recipes.”  Their instructions were to look up recipes, via Google, see if we have all the ingredients and prepare their snack.

They loved the freedom to find their own recipe and gather the necessary tools and ingredients.  I asked them to present it to me and fill out a questionnaire.

1. What was the source of your recipe?

2. Rate the degree of difficulty of this recipe. 1 star = Very difficult to 5 stars = Super easy.

3. How does it taste?

4. What would you do differently? (Ex. Dice apples instead of slice)

5. Would you add or take away anything? If so, what?

6. Would you make this again?

7. If you could give your recipe a new title what would it be?


I liked this lesson because it engaged the boys and technology on a non-game level.  They know that their iPads are a source of entertainment but it can also be a source of useful information.  They had to find a recipe.  They had to check our pantry and see if the ingredients were on hand.  They had to decide if it was a recipe they could execute.

Part of the lesson involved preparation.  Their work area had to be clean and cleared of non-recipe related items.  I was able to show them how to lay out their tools and arrange them so that it wasn’t a jumbled mess of confusion.  They learned proper safety measures in the kitchen when handling the mandolin. I was right there with them when THAT was used.  They’ve seen how to Improperly use one of those suckers thanks to me.

They also had to use their writing skills and critical thinking when filling out my questionnaire.  I made the oldest put more thought into his answers.

My boys were expected to clean up their mess after it was all said and done AND in order to score extra points on game playing they went a step further and swept AND mopped the floor.  Wow!  I should do this more often.  Granted I should warn you, although it sounds wonderful … upon further inspection my son only mopped the half of the kitchen they used.  Oh well, gotta start somewhere.

I suppose we could compare various, maybe three, recipes to see how differently it could be made and how they would make it their own but perhaps I will wait until they are a bit older.

In the end this was a fun project and I plan to do it again.

What research projects have you done? How old are your children and how did you modify your expectations according to age differences?  Let me know!