Every year I would do a Big6 project with grades 5 & 6. If it was Olympic year they would pick an Olympic sport. As a class, we would brainstorm questions and then organize and narrow the questions down to four focus questions. Students could choose which main ideas they wanted to research within each focus question as there were usually many.
Examples of Focus Questions:
What is the history of the sport?
How do you play it?
Who are current and past Olympic stars?
Examples of Main Ideas for "How do you play it?"
What equipment do you need?
Where is it played (specifics of dimensions, lengths, etc).
What are the rules?
How do you win?
On non-Olympic years, we would research awards or inventors/inventions. Students could pick anything from sports, science, music or inventions. (Message me and I can share our focus questions for those topics). I always made sure they were picking a topic under an umbrella that I chose so we all had the same questions to research and therefore, could go through the brainstorming and note organizing as a class as
I would create research packets and it was a pain because I would also color code the notes. Note taking paper colors would correspond with the colored circles on the Task Definition Page so everyone used a blue page for history, etc. There are also two different note taking pages depending on ability of kids. Students wrote any "a-ha!" moments that they had when researching on the back. Note taking sheets are in "outline" format, the differentiated ones are more graphic organizer-ish
The project took forever because we had 30 minute classes and we research in the winter months (SNOW!!) but kids stayed pretty engaged because they were researching something of personal interest. Students understood that I was grading on their research NOT their final product. I have included my rubrics below. The teachers used the student research packets to teach writing lessons in the classrooms.
If you have questions, please let me know. I am happy to help. Oh and we did have iPads but they were old, good for internet searching but tough to do word processing work so we would practice citations the old fashion way and I explained how amazing life would be at middle school with EasyBib and NoodleTools.
Here are the links to my materials:
(ps - yes, these are 16 point rubrics, would have loved to try out the one column rubric on this project!)
*My lesson was modeled on The Big6.