Mini Biographies

Mini Biographies
Social Studies
Upper Elementary or Middle School
Time Frame:
2 class periods for middle school, possible 3 for elementary
Student pairs or groups will research and report on an important historical figure. This could either be done to review people already studied, to seed background knowledge of upcoming people, or just people the students are interested in. Students will use the project to learn about or practice wiki page creation with the basic elements of text, images, and hyperlinks. They will also get an opportunity to explore writing their own questions, which will become the core skill in later inquiry projects.
0) Teacher overviews project and shows a sample.

1) Students grouped in mixed ability pairs or groups.

2) Students select an important historical figure from a list provided by the teacher.

3) Each student finds 1 high quality website for their person (wikipedia is acceptable for this project). This could be completed for homework.

4) Students create the headings and bullets for their page. (This lets them practice using the text formatting tool, though you could also use a template if you are desperate to save time.)

5) Students read through both high quality sites.

6) Pairs or groups determine what the three most important things others should know about your person and type those in bullet format in the appropriate section of their wiki page.

7) Pairs or groups determine three other factoids others might find interesting to know about their person and type those in bullet format in the appropriate section of their wiki page.
Group individuals each take a part of the person's life to research.

8) Pairs or groups determine what they would now like to know about their person that wasn't answered on your websites and type those in question format in the appropriate section of their wiki page.

9) Pairs or groups discuss what they think about their person's life and accomplishments. Each student individually types a 1 paragraph conclusion/opinion in the appropriate section of their wiki page. Make sure students realize that they each need a paragraph that gets at a different part of what they discussed.

10) Pairs or groups find a picture that shows their historical figure or something related to that person and embeds it at the top of their wiki page. Make sure to demonstrate to the class how to right justify an image on a wiki page.

11) Pairs or groups think through who else is directly connected to their person and adds them to the appropriate section of their wiki page.

12) Pairs or groups read through the other students mini biographies for about 15 minutes.

13) Pairs or groups add constructive feedback to two other groups using the "Discussion" tab. They also add 1 "I wonder ..." type question to each wiki page they commented on.

14) Pairs or groups add to their connections and/or edit their page as needed (based on feedback).

15) Students check that they have tagged their page "biographies".

16) Teacher reviews the Inquiry and Problem-solving poster and discusses which elements the students did and did not engage in.

17) Optional - As a whole class or in small groups, students could use Inspiration to create a web of the connections between people. It would generate an interesting discussion on who is most connected and why.

18) Based on the collaborative work, student in groups create a cumulative project by displaying items their person might have collected. For example, what might be found on the person's desk, or stocked within the refridge, a bedroom dresser.
This could also be tied in with a ELA writing project.

Modifications - This could be done with a few changes as a Mini Event project too.
  • What GLCE's or other objectives does this activity/lesson project meet?
  • Please include at least one !gnite objective here as well (communication with text and non-text resources, collaboration, higher order thinking skills, problem solving, etc.)
How will you assess the students learning?
Please identify opportunities for differentiation.


Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Pedagogy post Mini Biographies rh05bps rh05bps 0 124 Mar 25, 2010 by rh05bps rh05bps
Technology Extension af05bps af05bps 0 159 Mar 25, 2010 by af05bps af05bps
Mini Biography ck03bps ck03bps 1 235 Feb 4, 2010 by JordyWhitmer JordyWhitmer
6th Grade Topics JordyWhitmer JordyWhitmer 0 195 Feb 4, 2010 by JordyWhitmer JordyWhitmer