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The Well Project: A Drinking Water Report

School: Shutesbury Elementary School

City/State: Shutesbury, MA

Grade(s): 5, 6

Format(s): Report: Science

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies

Type(s): Informative/Explanatory

Writing Assignment Description

Fifth and sixth graders from the Shutesbury Elementary School in Shutesbury, Massachusetts prepared this report on the quality of well water within the town as part of a year-long expedition on water resources. Students kept track of their results on a wall size GIS map of the town, and entered all the data into Excel spreadsheets, becoming proficient users of the Excel software program.

Students did two levels of reporting: 1) a confidential report was prepared for each individual house, and 2) an overall summary report was prepared for the town.

The work was funded in part through a Lighthouse Grant students received from the Massachusetts Department of Education and was documented by the Harvard Center of Astrophysics Video Team for inclusion in an Annenberg Foundation video documenting exemplary science practices. The students received an award from the state for their environmental research.

How This Writing Can Be Useful

  • A good model of a scientific report with simple but accurate language and data, written and produced by young students
  • Clear and accurate descriptions of why data was collected and what was found
  • Demonstrates the capacity of elementary students to accomplish professional quality research
  • Exemplifies students engaged in adult-level research with an important purpose

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.
  • I can produce writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • I can use several sources to build my knowledge about a topic.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question.
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