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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 4: Research and presentation

Independent Research

Using inquiry skills students investigate an insect that is of interest to them. Plan questions and conference with teacher to ensure questions are manageable. Students research, read draft, edit proof read, teacher conference and present their findings to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of insects.


 Your task is to choose a topic in which you are interested, find out enough about the topic for you to become an "expert" so that you can lead a mini-seminar in which you share your expertise with the rest of the class.

 You may work by yourself or with a partner.

 Here is what you do:

 Choose a topic, in which you are interested but which you know little about eg.

  • a sport or sports personality,
  • a hobby you would like to take up (eg. collecting, cooking, models),
  • a famous person,
  • an historical event,
  • a place or country,
  • an endangered animal,
  • a scientific topic.


 Write down 3 specific questions you would like to answer as a result of your research.

 Ask your teacher to check that they are not so broad that they are too difficult to research or so narrow that there is no research challenge involved.

 You must use at least TWO different sources of information to gather the answers to your questions.

  1. One must be from a primary source ie information that you generate for yourself. This will include at least one of the following:
    • conducting an interview (including phone interviews),
    • writing a letter seeking information,
    • emailing for information or joining an Internet Forum related to your topic,
    • conducting a survey.
  2. One must be from a secondary source ie. information generated by others. This will include at least one of the following:
    • books, magazines, articles,
    • the media eg. television, radio, newspapers, websites.

 Prepare a 10 minute seminar to be presented to the class, which reports the results of your research. In this seminar you must have:

  1. Something to tell ie. the questions you wanted answered, how you went about your research, the answers to your original questions if you have been able to answer them, the most and least successful research methods and what you would do differently if you were going to do the assignment again. Make sure you let your classmates ask any questions they need to clarify their understanding.
  2. Something to show (pictures or posters, a demonstration, over-head transparency, model, map, video, computer display, dramatic skit, wall-chart, diagrams, web site etc.) - whatever will help you explain and illustrate your topic in a more informative and interesting way.
  3. A listening quiz. Part of the purpose of this assignment is to improve listening skills. As part of your seminar presentation prepare a listening quiz with 5 questions which you give the class (orally) at the end of your seminar. Your quiz could include:
    • recall questions,
    • true/false questions,
    • multi-choice questions,
    • 'spot the mistake' type activities.
     Perhaps as a class you could discuss with your teacher the possibility of providing prizes for those who do best in the listening quiz.


 Several days before you are due to deliver your seminar make sure you can place a tick beside each of the following:

  • I have had my research questions approved by my teacher.
  • In my research I have used at least one primary and one secondary source of information.
  • My seminar includes my original research questions, how I went about finding the answers, the answers to my questions and what I would do differently next time.
  • My seminar has a visual component which adds interest and helps my explanation.
  • My seminar has a listening quiz.
  • I have practised the delivery of my seminar

For customisable student check-list, see these Assessment Resource Bank resources:


Discuss ways in which the students' work can be presented - list ideas suggested by the students. Students can record their findings on:

  • video (this could be a documentary)
  • audio (this could be a radio report about the work of some "junior scientists" and their research into the life of a specific insect)
  • digital camera (which could then be downloaded onto the computer)
  • overhead transparencies (using colour photographs or transparency pens)
  • chart (including information and diagram)
  • slideshow presentation.

In pairs or individually, students investigate, read, draft, revise, edit, proofread and prepare their presentation. This will be presented orally as a seminar to the class

Teacher or students video each presentation. Students use this video to assess their oral presentation.

Published on: 19 Apr 2009