February is Black History Month and it's always my go to month to introduce a research project. Students have learned most of their writing skills to begin a project like this and it is great for ANY age level. You can tailor the research to be as in depth as you would like.
Here are the steps I follow for Biography Research. If you want to skip ahead to the resources, I totally get it! BUT here's a quick guide if you need!
1.THINK about what you want the END product to be for your students. Would it be one paragraph of writing, a paper with multiple paragraphs, or a culminating project at the end? Maybe it is a combination of all three, but you will want to think about this before you assign your project and/or research.
2. INTRODUCE the project and have students choose their biography focus from a list! I have a HUGE comprehensive list in my Black History Bubbleheads packet.
Here is also a list of a few: https://theundefeated.com/features/the-undefeated-44-most-influential-black-americans-in-history/#introduction
3. GATHER materials for research! Local librarians can pull books for you, as well as your school librarian if you have one. I ALWAYS like my students to have a PRINT resource AND a digital one (minimum) for any age.
I LOVE this book series for grades 2-5 depending on reading level! It won't have all of your research people, but it's a great start!
Here are some other websites that you may like. Remember your school usually subscribes to some databases for you, so ask about those, as well as local library!
(A great website for information! You can search by person! It gives you a SHORT bio, as well as the source information for you. Better suited to older kids for the amount of text)
(Great website! Visit Explore- History- African American Heroes if it doesn't take you there. Great for little kids with short text! It doesn't have everyone, so you may want to see who this website has first!
Great website for some video research information! Check out the Elementary video section that has videos on certain people! It's quite a few!
Great list of other books that you may want to check out for read alouds!
Short list of Black History Biographies, but breaks information down into sections! Again, not everyone is listed, but an option for you depending on what access you have to a database. You could even have students research one person together as a class (for example Martin Luther King) to see what information you want them to gather!
Here is a FREE graphic organizer I found:
You could use this as a template to tailor it how you would like students to take notes and print it OR use as a template in Google Docs.
5. CHOOSE a project! Check out the Bubbleheads for an EASY project during or after the biography research. You can have them focus on character traits for their Black History Biography.
Another project that is a little more prep, BUT will guide them through step by step is the Lapbook. It has all the parts that they will find research for. I have these both bundled together below as well.
For younger students they may also like this Reading Contract for Biographies to use. It has all the graphic organizers for taking notes in each area, as well as comprehension pages and reading strategies while they take notes and read their biography.
I love Biographies and whatever time of year, it's great for students to have CHOICE in their research! Happy February!