Another 3rd Grade Biography Project

We have finally gotten to Olivia's third grade year. She has many projects to complete this year (yay third grade) but the biography poster project is by far the favorite. That may have to do with the creative aspect of this project. Sure the research part must be completed as in any project but the glue and yarn that's fun. The unique aspect of this project is that each child chooses how to present the required information on the poster. They also have to present this poster to the class telling everyone why this person is so important. I love this project. It's fun, cute and full of "wow I didn't know that" learning.

Olivia chose Eleanor Roosevelt as her person. She selected her because it was a person she knew very little about! Ah, she is finally getting this learning thing. We began by taking a trip to the library for our books. I found a few that were more informational based biographies as well as a good picture book. I reviewed each book to make sure they were appropriate for her to read. We used the following books to learn about Mrs. Roosevelt:

Eleanor Roosevelt First Lady of the 20th Century by Ted Gottfried
Eleanor Roosevelt Diplomat and Humanitarian by Rachel Toor
A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt by David A. Adler

*To meet the poster requirements:
Information on the poster must include date of birth, place of birth and family life. In addition display three facts about the person include symbols and pictures. These facts could consist of: problem faced and solution, major contribution, education and death. Points are given for following directions and for creativity. On the backside of the poster she glued her research. That information included the following: Who, when and where born, family, death and cause if known, hobbies, education, major contribution. The information was easy to put together by being broken down into three life stages: Early years, Middle years, Late years.

Olivia spent a few days reading her books and pondering about Mrs. Roosevelt. We talked during supper giving her ideas about what to look for in those books. Dad even asked her some questions for her to answer. Those questions required Olivia to read more deeply. Once Olivia read her books to get the basic understanding of who Eleanor Roosevelt was and why she was such an important American we were ready to write. In her project packet there were an assortment of questions that must be answered. In addition to the general who, what, when, where type questions Olivia was required to find out about personal things such as hobbies and other likes. I love that part. Diving in deep about the person helps you understand them, see them as a person with feelings and preferences. After completing her written questions Olivia was able to work on the presentation poster. All she wanted to do was create Eleanor Roosevelt on the poster but I wanted her to do the research part first. I'm a tough Mama saving the fun for last. I know this because Olivia informed me of my tough ways. I'm glad I stuck to the research portion first because it made her really investigate Mrs. Roosevelt before choosing how to design the poster. I wanted her to think about Eleanor as a person so that she could visualize what stage of life person most people remember her. The easy thing to do is make the person a child! I can understand why Olivia wanted to make her Eleanor a child version. One look at that picture book was enough to see why. Such beautiful dresses at the turn of the century make for a very fun creation. Having Olivia research first made her realize that most people remember Eleanor from her later years and all the work she began during FDR's terms and how she continued on with her humanitarian work with NATO. I'm very glad Olivia chose Eleanor Roosevelt because I think she is an important American to learn about. Although Eleanor Roosevelt was many things I think the most difficult part to explain to an eight year old was the extent of Mrs. Roosevelt's humanitarian role in the world. An explanation of the complex nature of the world's inequalities can't be easily broken down to a third grader's understanding of history. Plus it just won't seem to fit on an index card. If anything this project made us as parents realize that our kids need to have more encompassing understanding of world history. One that does not need to rely on the school lesson plan to present. Supplementing is very much on my mind because I think that we too soon forget how hard people worked to make the world a more accepting and (generally) safer place to live in.

***Editor's Note***
I have been receiving requests for instructions for this project. I have created a .pdf available on my Google Drive with the guidelines for this biography project. The document can be found here: Step into History Biography Poster Project


Anonymous said…
I love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. I am doing it with my 2nd grade students for their famous American biography research projects. Thanks again!
Unknown said…
Do you have the instructions for this project? Would love to have my class do this.
Yvonne said…
The link to the .pdf on my drive is now available. Enjoy!

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