Using Digital Resources to Help Further Investigative Research

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An Instructional Case Created by Christins Miller


I first graduated college in 1993 with a B.S. in Professional and Liberal Studies with N-6 teaching certification from Dowling College. I began my teaching career as a third grade teacher at a small Catholic elementary school. I worked there for 6 years and loved every minute of working in that close-knit, family-like environment. Unfortunately, due to economic factors this school was forced to close it doors. Luckily, there was some lead time for this and while that closing deadline loomed I returned to college to earn a Master's Degree in Library Science with a school library media speicalist teaching certificate in 2003 from St. John's University. From here I started an expanded teaching career working not in a classroom but in a school library media center of a small K-12 public school. This school district mirrors that close-knit, family-like environment of my earlier teaching placement and enables me to interact with all grade levels as well as provide professional development to my teaching colleagues.


During this course participants will learn that using digital resources is beneficial to conducting investigative research. Participants will also learn how to locate those digital resources and evaluate them for validity, usability, and content. Partcipants will also gain an understanding of what plagiarism is and how not to plagiarize as they complete their investigative research.

Target Group

These lessons are geared toward students in the fifth and sixth grade. These are the years where the students begin to learn some in depth researching methods and start to have an understanding of how to accomplish these kinds of goals independently.

Performance Objectives

  • Participants will have an understanding of why one should use a database when researching
  • Participants will be able to locate appropriate databases for specific topics
  • Participants will be able to use keywords to search within a database for on-topic information
  • Participants will have an knowledge of what the Internet is and how it came to be created
  • Participants will be able to effectively evaluate Internet websites
  • Particpants will have an understanding of what plagiarism is and how it can be avoided

Curriculum Map

Curriculum map

Course Units


Cummulative Unit Project for Assessment

Cummulative Unit Project Rubric

References and Resources

Abilock, Damon, and Debbie Abilock, eds. NoodleTools. NoodleTools, Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. <>.

Bucher, Katherine T. "The Importance of Information Literacy Skills in the Middle School Curriculum." The Clearing House 73.4 (2000): 217-20. ProQuest Education Journals; ProQuest Research Library. Web. 16 April 2012.

Denning, Steve. "Lessons in Innovations: How Was the Internet Invented?" Forbes 12 July 2011: n. pag. Forbes. Web. 3 May 2012. <>.

Harada, Violet H., Hughes-Hassell, Sandra.. "facing the reform challenge: teacher-librarians as change agents." Teacher Librarian 2(2007):8. eLibrary. Web. 10 April 2012.

Robbins, Mari Lu. How to Write A Research Report--Grades 6-8. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, Inc., 1999. Print.