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Graphic Organizer:
Research Note-Taking Made Easy



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Science
    --Life Sciences
    Note: This activity can be easily adapted for use across the curriculum.


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

A graphic organizer helps students gather research notes for writing.


Students will

  • select a topic for research.
  • develop focus questions for their research.
  • use a graphic organizer to collect and organize information.
  • use their collected notes to write a research essay/paper.


research, bats, graphic organizer, notes, note taking, study skills

Materials Needed


* NOTE: This graphic organizer is editable. That means students can simply copy the graphic organizer to a disk and use a Word processing program to fill in the spaces. See additional graphic organizers on Education World's Teacher Tools and Templates Page. (Of course, it you choose to, you can simply print the template and students can write on the form with pen or pencil.)


Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students use an editable graphic organizer template and a word processing program to fill out the template. (Or you can print the template for students to write on.) This note-taking template helps students collect and organize information related to a research topic.

Note: For the purpose of this lesson, we chose the topic "Bats." You can use that topic; connect the activity to any topic in your curriculum; or have students choose a topic of special interest to them.


Introduce students to a new research topic. (For this sample lesson, we are using the topic of bats.) You might start the lesson by creating a KWL chart, such as the one on Education World's Teacher Tools and Templates Page. Have students brainstorm information they Know about bats and write it in the K column. Brainstorm a list of questions students Want to know about bats and write them in the W column. Save the KWL chart for use at the end of the lesson.

The students' list of questions might include some of the following:
  • How many different kinds of bats are there?
  • In what countries can bats be found?
  • How big are the biggest bats?
  • How do bats fly?
  • How do bats see?
  • Where can bat habitats be found?
  • What do bats eat?
  • How long do bats live?
  • Which bats are endangered? Why?
  • Why is it a good idea to protect bats?
  • What can be done to protect bats?

Students can select from their brainstormed list the three questions they are most interested in learning about, or you might assign one question to each student (so at least one student is researching each of the brainstormed questions) and let students choose the other two questions. The student then use a word processing program to type the three questions into the "Research Question" field on the Note-Taking Graphic Organizer.

Next, students use library and or Internet resources (see Internet Resource List below) to search for the information to answer the three questions on their charts. They identify three "Research Sources" and write the answers they find in those sources in the appropriate columns in the Note-Taking Graphic Organizer.

The spaces on the graphic organizer are particularly small. That fact should encourage students to write notes (using key phrases and words) rather than entire sentences; that way, when they use their notes to write their reports they will have plenty of content and be more likely to write in their own words.


When students complete their graphic organizers, they write a report that includes a summary paragraph or two about each of the questions they researched.

Save time for students to share the results of their research. Then fill in the L column on your KWL chart with the information students Learned about bats.

Internet Resource List: Bats


Students will complete their charts accurately. They will use correct grammar and punctuation in their essays/reports.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins


Return to the Note Taking lesson plan page.

Find more ideas for teaching study skills in an Education World article Teaching Study Skills: Ideas That Work!.

Links updated on 04/20/17