Fourth Grade Research Guide

Hello, Fourth Graders and Parents!

You are working on research on animals for the Mission Fair. Here are some tips.The blue or purple underlined words are links.

  • Use the Safe Search For Kids search engine. This search engine is kid-friendly.
  • Use the words “Facts for Kids” in your searches. You’ll get results that use fewer big words and are easier to understand. Some of the stuff on Google is more for scientists.
  • Search by scientific name. Sometimes different scientists will use different words for the same animal. For example, the Common Musk Turtle is also known as the Stinkpot Turtle, so using the scientific name, Sternotherus odoratus will give you more exact results.
  • Make sure you are using the full scientific name. The name scientists use will be two words. The first word is the genus, the second is the species. For example, Canis is the genus name for the dog family. There are lots of different animals in this genus, so if you just search “canis,” you’re going to get a LOT of information that you don’t really need. If your animal is the Eastern Timber Wolf, for example, your search term would be “Canis lyacon.” Use both words of the scientific name!
  • Population information may not be exact. Unless your animal is very, very rare in the wild, scientists may not know how many are in the wild. When they look at population, they’re looking at how common the animal is now compared to previous years. The IUCN Red List is a great place to get an idea of how well your animal is doing in the wild. Type in your scientific name and check out the results. “Least Concern” means that they are doing well in the wild. “Vulnerable” means that if there are just a few changes to their environment, their numbers in the wild will drop. There is also good information there on what countries the animals are found in, as well as some other very basic information.
  • Wikipedia sometimes works, but only with permission. If you cannot find good information on your animal on other websites, be sure to ask your teacher if you can use Wikipedia information. If you are researching an animal lots of people know about, there are probably lots of other websites available to look at. If you have something more rare, you may ask if you can use Wikipedia as backup. The down-side of that website is that anyone can edit it at any time, so some facts may not be 100% accurate.
  • If you have questions, ask. The sooner the better. We’re happy to help you!
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