Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Shared Research: Habitats

Subject Area

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
English Language Arts




After students have had a lesson on the "Super 3!" research method and how to maneuver the Alabama Virtual Library site, students will complete a shared research activity answering the essential question: How do animals adapt to the area in which they live? The teacher will model how to research using the PebbleGo database from the Alabama Virtual Library.  Finally, students will complete an extension activity where they will research a specific animal and how it survives in its own habitat.

This activity was created as a result of the DLCS COS Resource Development Summit.

    Digital Literacy and Computer Science (2018) Grade(s): 2


    Locate and curate information from digital sources to answer research questions.

    Unpacked Content



    • video
    • text
    • image
    • webpage
    • ebook
    • search engine
    • key words
    • phrases


    Students know:
    • search engines use key words and phrases to find specific information.
    • devices give access to many different forms of information.


    Students are able to:
    • choose and type key words and phrases into a search engine that results in specific information pertaining to a topic when given support and guidance from an adult.
    • use + symbol which combines to words/phrases and quotation marks which tell the search engine to look for an entire phrase.
    • find information about a specific topic or to answer a specific question using a digital resource such as a webpage, ebook, and/or video.


    Students understand that:
    • a search engine will find specific resources and information for you based on key words.
    • answers to questions can be found in many different digital resources such as a webpages, ebooks, and/or video.
    • one can focus a search by using the + symbol and quotation marks around words or phrases one wishes to search for as a whole.
    English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 2


    Gather and use research to answer questions to complete a research product.

    Unpacked Content



    • Gather
    • Research
    • Questions


    Students know:
    • Information must be gathered from a variety of sources, and the information can be used to answer questions.


    Students are able to:
    • Gather and use the research to answer questions and create a research product.


    Students understand that:
    • A research product requires gathering information from a variety of sources and using the research to answer questions.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    The students will answer a question by gathering information from provided research sources.

    The students will find and collect information about their own animal and its habitat using PebbleGo.

    Activity Details

    1. Review the "Super 3!" research method of plan, do, review.

    2. Explain that today we will work on the "do" of the "Super 3!" research method: I must locate the things I will need, and I need to ask questions, read, and take notes.

    3. Read and identify the essential question: How do animals adapt to the area in which they live? Ask students to identify ways that they could find the answer to this question (print resources, Internet, etc.).

    4. Tell students that today we will look at how to answer a research question using the Alabama Virtual Library and PebbleGo.

    5. Show students how to navigate to PebbleGo using a projector and computer from the Alabama Virtual Library web page (Student Resources > Elementary > PebbleGo).

    6. At this point, ask the students which area of PebbleGo may be more useful to answer the research question. Tell students that since we don't know a specific animal to research, the science option would be best. 

    7. Next, ask students which area of the science tab would be best suited to answer the question. Explain to students that life sciences covers living things. Click life sciences. While animals is an option under life sciences, adaptations best fit this question as we want to know how animals adapt to their surroundings to survive in different elements. 

    8. On chart paper, show students how the tabs are the main topics discussed on this page. Write the main topics (Adaptations, Body Shape, Life in Deserts, Protection, and Attracting Mates) on a whiteboard or chart paper in a bright color, leaving room for notes under each section.

    9. Next, using the read-aloud option of PebbleGo, have the computer read the notes under each tab. Ask students what is important to note on our chart paper. Using a different colored pen/marker, add the notes under each section of the chart/whiteboard. 

    10. Revisit the essential question. Ask students, "After researching, how can we answer the question: 'How do animals adapt to the area in which they live'?" Have students refer back to the chart paper/whiteboard in which you wrote the notes in the shared research activity. (Answers may include that animals must live in an area that can meet their survival needs; the shape of an animal helps it live in a certain habitat; dry places are hard to live in, but a camel can live in an area like this; or at times it is necessary for the animal to blend in with its surrounding, helping it survive against predators.)

    11. Ask students to then think of animals that live in certain areas like the camel lives in a desert or the whale lives in the ocean. Make a list of these animals on the board.

    12. Have students pick an animal to research and find how that specific animal exists in a certain place based on its habitat. Remind students that they can use PebbleGo's Animals tab to search for the animal. Students should record their notes like you modeled by writing the main topics (from the tabs) on the paper and putting notes underneath. 

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    At the conclusion of this activity, the teacher can check for the students' understanding of the stated learning objectives by:

    1. Questioning and answering during the lesson

    2. Having the students complete their own research from a research question (What must a certain animal have to survive in its habitat?) using PebbleGo as a digital resource.

    Variation Tips

    The teacher may decide to have the students write a paragraph after the research to answer the essential question.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Prior to the lesson, show students how to navigate the Alabama Virtual Library website (student resources > elementary school).

    The teacher will need a projector and a computer with Internet access to model for students how to locate information from digital sources and to answer research questions.

    Digital Tools / Resources