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The Research Model - Working with KWL

magic school bus

Begin by browsing this book to demonstrate that one does not read a nonfiction book cover to cover but rather flip through the pages to find answers to questions.

Another way to get the children excited is to showcase a previously published book. Announce that together they will be researching, writing and illustrating their very own nonfiction book that will be published for real.


From the discussion start generating the K-W-L chart. Resist the temptation to change the children's language which speaks to the voice that will give the book its unique character.


Bees sting


Why do bees sting?



Bees sting to defend themselves
  Are bee stings dangerous?
  What happens to the bee after it stings?  

In the Classroom

  • Group the children in fours to talk about what they already know about bees and what they are wondering about
  • Supply each group with pencils and scrap paper to write down their questions
  • They can write as many questions as they like as long as each one is on a separate piece of paper
  • Next choose one group to share their questions.
  • Ask for similar questions from the other groups.
  • Batch similar questions together into broader topics: description, types of honeybees, habitat, food, life cycle etc...
  • Assign questions to pairs of students. Each of these questions will become a chapter

In the Computer Lab

  • Following the discussion, at their assigned seat, children type their questions into a MicroSoft Word document
  • Teacher interviews a few children at a time and tabulates the information for a class
    K-W-L on a Word document

Tech Tip

Use Inspiration software to create a visual organizer.


  • Give children frequent opportunities to share answers as they read and learn.
  • Interview pairs of children to record their findings on the K-W-L. Encourage second and third rounds of questions.

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