Our third grade writing program requires each student to complete an animal research paper. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this project and with the help of her teacher and writing prompts, she wrote an amazing paper (I’m really not biased – it was amazing).
Resources to Research Animals
Use library books, encyclopedias and magazines to research your animal. In addition, there are numerous online resources. Our school provided a list of three online resources (noted by *). Since these resources require a membership, we provided a few more online sites to assist in researching an animal.
Online Resources for Animal Research Paper
|Animal Diversity Web |
|Animal Planet |
(Membership required for premium services)
|Especies Fact Sheets |
|Exploring Nature Educational Resource |
(Membership required for some information)
|Pebble Go (Membership required)|
|SIRS Discover (Membership required)|
Each student selects an animal of her choice and should take good notes when collecting facts and important details about her animal. Good note taking will greatly assist a student when writing his animal research paper. You may want to remind each student to use his own words.
Writing Prompts for Animal Research Paper
After a student selects her animal, she must answer the questions below. It is important to instruct your child or student to take her time and answer each question thoroughly. These answers will be used to create the animal research paper.
After a student completes the above questions, it’s time to begin writing the first draft of the research paper. Take the information obtained above and put it on paper.
Begin by restating each question or using TTQA (turn the question around), e.g. my animal likes to eat … Our third grade students write their first draft on gray bar paper. Each student writes her first draft on the white lines only. The gray lines are for both the student and teacher; these lines are used for changes and corrections, e.g., punctuation or spelling. This writing checklist is a great tool to help a child proof his paper.
Each answer to the questions above should be a paragraph with the exception of the interesting facts question. The two facts should get put into the paragraph that is most applicable, e.g., habitat, physical description or life span.
Do not include your opinion but make sure to include an opening paragraph that captures a reader and gives a broad overview of your animal. Please consider reading our post on the writing process to learn more about the revising, editing and publishing stages. Our third grade students publish their animal research paper on the template to the left. They must provide a detailed picture of their animal and use their best handwriting.
If you are a teacher, consider visiting our writing rubric page for different templates used to grade writing papers.