Wonder Bubbles: Make Research Fun!

Erin Burns

Editor's note: Erin Burns is an amazing fourth-grade teacher from New York. We frequently bounce ideas off of her. This time, Erin came to us with this Wonder Bubbles idea from Scholastic's Top Teaching blog. She knew she had to give it a whirl in her classroom. This super-engaging and fun research project is perfect for the end of the year! Try it in your room and let us know how it works...

Day 1: Students used their Scholastic Storyworks and read the paired texts “How to Save a Baby Elephant” and “Can Drones Stop Animal Killers”? While we were reading many questions came up. My students were shocked about what was happening. They had so many questions that I thought it would be a perfect time to introduce the Wonder Bubble!  An experienced teacher from Tennessee, Angela Bunyi, came up with this engaging idea. She has shared many free resources for this project that can be found here. To finish the day I had each student write down a question they had on a sticky note and put it in their Storyworks Magazine.

Day 2: Time for some research! I introduced the Wonder Bubble and told students that they would be able to research using iPads to answer the questions they had written on sticky notes the day before. We discussed how to use our library’s databases to research. Students were able to find four fast facts that related to or helped answer their questions they made up.

Day 3: Time to design our Wonder Bubbles! Each student cut out a circular shape using tag board. They printed out their questions in a circular format and began designing their bubble. Students found illustrations to help get their information across and drew pictures to reinforce their fast facts.

Day 4: Students were able to present their Wonder Bubbles! Each student presented to the class, sharing what inspired their research question and what they had found after researching.

Reflection: My class has never been so engaged in a research project! The two articles appealed to my class because they have a deep love of animals. I had students that even went home and did additional research and would come in each morning to share new facts they learned about poaching, the ivory black market, why zoos had started dehorning rhinos, the population of elephants, and even how Air Shepherd Drones could be improved! What's more, I had one student who was having a birthday party ask that people consider donating to a fund to help save elephants and rhinos instead of giving him a present! I will definitely be using Wonder Bubbles again to add to Storyworks articles!


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