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Biography Report Digital Research Project  | For GOOGLE Slides

Biography Report Digital Research Project | For GOOGLE Slides

Teacher Trap

Also included in:  Digital Research Projects Bundle | Animal Research | Biography Report | Planets

Biography Project

Biography Project

Thoughts of a Thirdster

Also included in:  Project Based Learning Bundle

Bobblehead Biography Project

Bobblehead Biography Project

Prince Padania

Biography Report Templates, Graphic Organizer - Writing Research Project Summary

What I Have Learned

Also included in:  Social Studies BUNDLE - Biography Report, Long Ago, Map Skills, Laws & Nations

Biography Report Research Template Project 3rd 4th 5th grade

Biography Report Research Template Project 3rd 4th 5th grade

The Whimsical Teacher

Biography Report Pennants for Biography Research Projects

Tied 2 Teaching

Also included in:  Biography AND Animal Report Pennant Banner Bundle

Instagram Template for Biography and Character Study Project Print & Digital

Instagram Template for Biography and Character Study Project Print & Digital

LaFountaine of Knowledge

Biography Research Project

Middle School Mood Swings

Biography Project Research Writing Template Women's History Helen Keller

Biography Project Research Writing Template Women's History Helen Keller

Think Grow Giggle

Also included in:  Research Projects Organizers Informative Writing Rubric with Animals Biography



Panicked Teacher

Also included in:  Narrative, Opinion, & Informational Writing Bundle

Biography Project Research Packet 7 Activities Famous Person Report

Biography Project Research Packet 7 Activities Famous Person Report

Instructomania with Mr and Mrs P

Macbeth Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization

Danielle Knight

Also included in:  British Literature Body Biography Project Bundle

Romeo and Juliet Body Biography Project, Great for Characterization Bundle

Romeo and Juliet Body Biography Project, Great for Characterization Bundle

Biography Poster Project

Biography Poster Project

Clare's Classroom - The Learning Zone

To Kill a Mockingbird Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization

Also included in:  American Literature Body Biography Project Bundle, Characterization

DIGITAL:  Biography Magazine Project

DIGITAL: Biography Magazine Project

Teaching in Room 6

Biography Research Project Graphic Organizers and Writing Templates

Kelly Benefield

Digital Biography Graphic Organizer, Snapshot Biographies Use w/ any Project

Teaching on Lemon Lane

Also included in:  Black History Month Posters Biographies Activities Art Project Bulletin Board

Biography Project Template | Biography Report | Famous Person Research

Biography Project Template | Biography Report | Famous Person Research

Shelly Rees

Biography PowerPoint Project

Sheri Powers

Biography Report Template and Project | Printable & Digital | Google Classroom

Biography Report Template and Project | Printable & Digital | Google Classroom

Literacy in Focus

POP BOTTLE Biography Project {Reading/Writing Informational Text} Who Was/Is


The Crucible, Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization

Beowulf, Characterization, Body Biography Project Bundle, For Print and Digital

Beowulf, Characterization, Body Biography Project Bundle, For Print and Digital

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Biography Project: Research and Class Presentation

biography research project middle school

Set the stage for high-interest reading with a purpose through a biography project. Students work together to generate questions they would like to answer about several well-known people, then each student chooses one of these and finds information by reading a biography from the library and doing Internet research. Students create a graphic organizer (a web) to organize the facts they have found and share what they have learned about their subjects through oral presentations. Students evaluate themselves and their classmates by using a rubric during the research and graphic organizer-creation process and by giving written feedback on one another's presentations.

Featured Resources

Bio-Cube : This planning tool can help students organize their research; use it as an extension to the lesson and have them outline the lives they' researched before writing their own biographies.

From Theory to Practice

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

Materials and Technology

Student Objectives

Students will

Session 1: Before Reading

Sessions 2 to 5, session 6: after reading, sessions 7 to 9: class presentations.

Have students use their webs and the online Bio-Cube tool to plan and write biographies of the person they have researched. When they are finished, ask students to share the books with a younger class.

Student Assessment / Reflections

Possible student assessments include:

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3 Ideas for Student Biography Research Projects

When the second half of the school year comes around, it is officially biography season in my classroom!

That is because when the second half of the year comes we shift our focus during reading and writing to nonfiction and informative text . The engagement is instant as kids just love to read nonfiction. After we get our feet with reading a wide range of informative texts, we begin to closely study biographies.

Students LOVE to read about real people and the impact that they have had on the world . Every year students are always so motivated during our biography research project time. Our biography project is the first research project of the year, so it is important to me that I support them every step of the way.

Over the years I have found that by breaking down the process step by step for our biography reports students are not only successful when writing their first research essay of the year, but they are able to take the skills that they learned throughout the unit and apply it to future research projects that we do, like studying endangered animals and National Parks . 

Continue to read to find out how I approach teaching BEFORE I expect students to research and write an expository research essay .

1. Break Down Biographies

Biography Anchor Chart for Upper Elementary

Once we have gone over the characteristics found in biographies we get reading so that students can find these characteristics in action.

I start by reading a few short biographies like the ones found in anthologies like this one, Herstory written by Katherine Halligan:

Biography Reading Mentor Text Upper Elementary

We stop and discuss the elements that we listed on our anchor chart.  I have students find examples of struggles, accomplishments, and facts.

Once students have listened to a few biographies, I send them off to annotate a   biography article . 

Annotating a Biography for Upper Elementary Students

Students take highlighters and sticky notes and mark up the text , citing where they found elements of biographies. This activity works well in partnerships so that the students can discuss each element with a peer.

At the close of this first lesson on biographies, I send students off with the task to think about a person that they would like to research . While I do like to encourage students to pick someone they are interested in, I do also guide them on who they select.

I tell my students to pick someone who has had an impact on the world and someone who is not a movie/TV/YouTube star. You can make any rules you want to help guide students or set no rules. I have found that spending a few minutes brainstorming appropriate people to research sets the tone for the whole project. That is why before we wrap up the lesson we brainstorm ten people who would be great to research. This brainstorming is just to get students excited and thinking. They do not have to pick from the brainstormed list.

The next day, after students have had time to think, and discuss it with their families, which I like to have them do, they submit their research request . They simply write their name on a piece of paper and the name of who they want to research and why. This is a great way to get students to pick someone intentionally and reduces repeat research projects. I never allow more than two people to pick the same person.

Grab the FREE form I have students use to request a focus person and guide right here.

2. Bring it Through the Writing Process

Writing Process Activities for Biography Research Elementary Kids

Once students have a good grasp on how to collect information, they are ready to work independently. I assign one topic for research each day. This helps the students stay focused on the daily task and make a research project manageable for upper elementary students. The breakdown I use for each day's research looks like thi s:

Sometimes days are combined based on what resources students are using to collect information. Once students have collected information for their report, we pause our research and return to the writing process.

Students know that we use the writing process for all of our writing. However, mini-lessons in certain areas specific to informative writing are necessary to help students write their first research project. Mini-lessons I teach before students write that are specific to informative writing include :

Teaching students how to take notes and what to do with their notes helps them successfully write their first research project.

3. Get Student Creative Juices Flowing

Creative Biography Project Ideas for Kids

When biography season comes around in your classroom, be sure to follow these tips for success! By breaking down biographies, using what students already know about the writing process , and allowing creative choice when it comes to project displays your students will be engaged, motivated, and write the best biography research projects you have ever seen.

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Biography Project Ideas, Tips, Templates, Lessons Upper Elementary

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Biography project, in this activity, activity overview, template and class instructions, more storyboard that activities, this activity is part of many teacher guides.

Stamped Biography Poster

A Changemaker Project is a popular way for middle school students to learn about different people from throughout history and all over the globe and research how they have positively impacted the world today.

In this activity, students will create a biography poster of someone past or present that was a positive agent of change. Students should be sure to include facts about their life, education, work, and more. As they research, they can use biography worksheets to keep track of information. Teachers may allow students to choose someone on their own, or provide a list for students to choose from. Our picture encyclopedia of biographies can be a great place to start! Students can find figures who have impacted history, literature, politics, science, and more! This example focuses on the life of Ida B. Wells , and can be used as a guide to show students what is possible. Their poster could be on any important Changemaker from history!

When finished, students' Changemaker posters can be printed, laminated, and hung around the classroom or school. Students can also present their posters to their classmates, adding a public speaking component to the project. Teachers may wish to organize a "gallery walk" where students have the opportunity to walk around as if they are in a museum and learn more about the lives of changemakers and notable figures from around the world!

For more templates to add to this assignment, check out our history infographic templates and biography poster templates !

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Objective: Research a person who has had a positive impact on the world. Create a Biography Poster that highlights their major accomplishments.

Student Instructions:

Requirements: Person’s image, name, dates of birth/death, at least 5 important additional facts or accomplishments.

Text Blocks Biography Poster

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Biographies

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric .)

Middle School Projects

Middle School Projects - Social Media Project

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All storyboards and images are private and secure. Teachers can view all of their students’ storyboards, but students can only view their own. No one else can view anything. Teachers may opt to lower the security if they want to allow sharing.

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Quick Tips for Teaching the Middle School Biography Writing Project

Driving student curiosity with biographical reports.

Independent learning is always the goal. Biographical reports each year mark one of the first big projects where the gradual release of responsibility actually happens. Biographies are more than about choosing a person that seems interesting, it is about giving students the ability to show interest and make choices in what they are learning.  The goal of all teachers should be to teach our students to go find the answers that they seek. A natural curiosity is what drives the passion behind real learning. There is always a moment with this project that I step back, listen to the fingers clicking and clacking on keyboards, see the focus in eyes on screens and books, and the drive to write down facts, and I think to myself: “Learning looks like this.” This post outlines my entire process from directions to the beginning of assessment for biographical report writing in my middle school English Language Arts classroom.

Before we begin the project, students are guided through practice paragraphs. It is always interesting to me where teachers think students should and should not be in terms of writing ability when they reach middle school. Year after year, the review of paragraph writing is one of the critical elements in moving forward into larger projects later on in the year. I start by finding 4-5 articles that are about interesting people. They are specifically high-interest people to start gaining traction with the project before we begin. The first people I grabbed this year were Serena Williams, Bethany Hamilton, Helen Keller, and Nina Simone. We take notes on paragraph writing, watch video clips, hear audio clips, and then practice writing a biographical paragraph together. After that, I assign clockwork partners and release them to practice on their own with other classmates.

Topic Selection

Then, we are ready to choose our person. I start by saying, “Last week, we practiced on people assigned to us. This week, you get to choose.” I provide a bank of people for them to explore. Often, I get students who do not know where to start. I tell them to first, choose a category. After selecting an interest, they can choose a person from a category that seems like someone they may be interested in learning more about. Even if they choose someone not on my given list, it is a place to start to get kids interested and willing to buy-in to the project.

During the topic selection process, I try to gather as many biographical picture books from the library as possible, and then we are off to the races in terms of exploration. I love exploration days. They remind me why I became a teacher because kids get to be curious about their own learning. We grab books, we look up names, we talk to one another…it is great. Also, It always makes me ask, “Why aren’t I doing this all year long? Why am I not making this curiosity the driving force behind all of my instruction?” This might be reserved for a later post, but working in the ability to have students go find information from reliable sources and databases does not just apply to informational and research writing. There is a way to work this skill-set into other units throughout the year and sooner if possible. Showing my students how to find the answers to questions that they seek may be one of the most important things I teach.


Read example papers.

Students always want to critique sample papers for grammar and conventions, but the main reasons for why we examine sample papers are for organization and ideas. I want them to notice that there is one idea per paragraph, and I want them to see that there are four paragraphs in total. This builds on from the paragraph writing work we did before we started the project. We always read these papers out loud together as a whole group, and then we write on them together. This also reinforces the idea of annotating the work we are reading to promote comprehension. I include a mix of showing previous student work and my own example paper about Langston Hughes.


Learn about sources and databases.

Before we jump into the next unit of research, the biographical report introduces the idea of the definition of sources. Students begin to understand in middle school that sources are concepts that familiar, but now they are named. I always start with the example of students as original sources of information. I use acting as a way to access prior knowledge for students:

Imagine there is a dragon that has broken into the cafeteria during lunch. If I wanted to know what happened, who would be a great primary source? If you went and told the teacher next door, and then that teacher told me, what counts as a secondary source?

After I have a student act like they are telling me about a crazy incident in the cafeteria, we apply that knowledge to vocabulary terms and definitions. We see examples of both primary and secondary sources. Using this knowledge, we take notes on where these are located and also how to evaluate different sources of information. Books and websites as sources begin the conversation and then later articles are introduced when doing research. I like to introduce one database at a time using the Michigan E-Library resources, and then add on when they feel comfortable navigating to one resource.

Review Note-Taking

The bulk of this project is in the note-taking. When I first started this project, I did a packet that contained the five W’s or who, what, when, where, and why. This was confusing to transfer over to four paragraphs, so now we take notes on one particular paragraph topic at a time. This was much clearer this year as students were taking notes, and then they will also be able to transfer quotations over to their writing much easier because it will be one page of information. I always reiterate that writing down where you got your source information is the most important part of this process. Students will attempt drafts with adding in their facts, and then they will learn how to add in-text citations. I always first look for in-text citations to be present during this project, and later in the research project I look for correctness within the parentheses. We talk about taking the value of taking short notes, what kind of information is important, and how to include the source information. We also see examples of source pages that show good note-taking skills.

Conferences and Drafting

Including the drafting pages at the end of the packet allows for students who are comfortable with note-taking to move further ahead in the project when they finish one section. This differentiates for learners who are ready for a challenge. The best way to do this is by using sentence frames with the example paragraph on the same page. While this can limit creativity in terms of writing and style, I find it is often necessary to teach our struggling writers the rules of organization first before we teach them to break those rules. My writers in class first use the sentence frames and outlined steps in case they need more help, and they also see these frames in action during modeling on writing workshop days. I check-in with them during writing conferences, and by having the steps outlined, I have tangible questions to ask along the way. When we get to a place where most people have a working draft, I like to hand out a peer review form to provide a checklist for revision. I will write in 2-3 things to look for during the first peer review as we are building these skills during our writing workshop.


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biographical report peer review

Writing Mindset Reflection: How do you teach biographical reports in elementary, middle, and high school? What is your go-to project for showing kids the power of curiosity?

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Connect learning with real life using projects and activities in upper elementary!

Use choice to create amazing biography projects for grades 3, 4 and 5

Biography Projects That Students Enjoy!

Students love having choices, but they may not love writing reports.  I’m going to share how using CHOICE you can watch your elementary students eagerly work on and create some amazing biography projects.  Use student enthusiasm to integrate and teach deep concepts at the same time with the focus on learning more about a famous person during a biography report project. 

Biography projects are great opportunities to teach skills like reading writing and public speaking.

There are so many educational standards to cover during the course of your year but by integrating them into a fun and engaging project, you can do it!  Keep reading!

Biography anchor charts are included with the biography project for grades 3, 4 and 5.

A well-designed project-based biography project can integrate and cover lots of content standards, including:

·Reading – a novel at his/her own reading level and comprehending the non-fiction text

·Writing – note taking, rough draft writing, final copy writing, poetry writing, listing sources used for research

·Speaking – public speaking during a wax museum event or other presentation can let students demonstrate the speaking standards to show content, organization, use of proper language, and having a good delivery

·Citing Sources – writing a bibliography of sources using proper format

·Math and Art – Students will draw their famous person, using math to measure their own face dimensions and then draw their person’s face to the proper proportional scale

Biography projects are more engaging when you give them a choice of who to write and learn about.

Use learning about famous people as the motivator.  If you ask students to tell you who they would want to learn more about, you’ve almost got them hooked.  YES!  They willingly dig in and get to work because they chose the person.  It’s so easy but it works. 

Biography projects allow students to read novels at their own reading level.

Allow students to read a novel to learn all about their favorite person.  Make sure the book is the proper reading level.  There are lots of biography series books and they make a great item to begin collecting for your classroom library.  Here are a few places to find good biography books for elementary students to get you started. (Note, I’m not making any money from providing these links).

“Who Was . . . ?” Series – a great series for elementary readers

“ The Story of . . . “ Series – has various age ranges for each book

ABDO Books – search their catalog by reading level, interest, Lexile rating and more!

Introduce the Research Project Have students take notes while reading about their famous person.  Teach student the importance of writing down books and online sources they used and have them create a bibliography.

of writing down books and online sources they used and have them create a bibliography.

My biography website collection is designed for grades 3, 4 and 5 and is geared to help students stay safer while conducing Internet research.

I created a website for my students to use for biography research that includes 125 famous people with web links pre-selected.  Students can use any of the websites on the web page built for the this project to research famous person. This helped ease my mind that students would be researching and are safe using the Internet.

Biography timeline templates are included in the the complete biography project for grades 3, 4 and 5.

Ask students to find important dates in the person’s life.   I give students the choice of recording a minimum 8 events, and by doing this, you may find that many students will go above and beyond the minimum and find 10 or more events.

Biography final copy paper is also included in the complete biography unit and biography project.

When the report components have been completed, students may be losing enthusiasm to keep going BUT, give them another choice and watch them perk back up!  Give students a choice of final copy paper to use.  Yes, something that simple works!  You can offer students choice of paper with a fun scroll border, paper with a barbed wire look, paper that allows them to color the border, paper with different sized line spacing, or maybe it’s choosing a background color for their final digital biography project.  Choice helps motivate students!

Students enjoy having control over their learning.  Give it to them while YOU present a curriculum-rich project that reaches the standards you need to.  

Biography file folder project in print and digital format perfect for students in grades 3, 4, and 5.

If you’re looking for a complete BIOGRAPHY REPORT PROJECT in print and digital format especially for grades 3-5 with everything you and your students need for a print and digital use, you can see it in my TpT store. 

biography research project middle school

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What Is a Biography Project Idea for My Class?

Children's Literature · Language Arts · Teacher Tips

What is a biography?

An autobiography is the author’s retelling of his or her own life. However, what is a biography? A biography is the story of someone’s life told by someone else. Biographies are so important to read because learning about the accomplishments of others can inspire our students. Furthermore, students will be able to see how others have overcome obstacles or struggles in order to accomplish a goal. Biographies allow students to see the amazing accomplishments of others, which will hopefully open their minds to making a positive change in the world. Additionally, students will see how greatness begins one step at a time. The easiest way to help students fall in love with biographies is to have them complete a biography project. 

Why use biography projects?

Reading allows us to be transported to another world. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in someone else’s life. Additionally, we can learn about a culture very different from our own. Furthermore, we can learn new words, phrases, and experience different emotions. Reading stories to children can not only teach them empathy but can also improve a child’s development.  As students learn about the challenges that others have overcome, they can make connections to their own lives. Learning about historical figures through biographies in the classroom has a powerful way of influencing and inspiring children! By exploring creative ways to teach biographies in the classroom, students will be ready to become future leaders! 

What is a biography project?

When using biographies in the classroom, there are so many fun, hands-on projects for students to complete! By using creative activities, students are not just reading a book and putting it away. They are engaged with the material and truly understanding the accomplishments of other people. Therefore, as students are working, they are gaining confidence in themselves to achieve anything they set their mind to. Furthermore, so many standards can be tied into biographies projects ! For example, students may develop questions they want to learn about a person and complete research for answers. Additionally, students can improve comprehension, complete writing assignments, or develop presentations. There are so many ways for students to show what they have learned!


Great Biographies Project Ideas for your Classroom

There are so many fun biography projects in order to meet the needs of every student! What is the biography project you are most likely to choose?

Idea 1: Make Biographies Boxes

In your class, you can make biographies boxes. You are probably thinking what is a biography box project? Well, a fter reading about a historical figure, students can use a cereal box to create a museum display.  Specifically, they can include facts, illustrations, and a motto that makes clear why they have chosen the figure. They can then display their boxes like a museum. Next, students can walk around the room to see all the different historical figures. The biography box project brings together research and creativity in one amazing activity! 

Idea 2: Write Poems 

Students can write people poems.  It all starts with what is a biography poem and how can this biography poem be incorporated into classroom learning? Poetry writing may seem dull to some students but not when it is combined with a biography! Students can select one individual and write a poem about that person. Specifically,  the poem should feature qualities that make the person unique. Additionally, it can include facts relating to the person’s life and other details. You may choose to have each student include the name of the individual. However, the student can also share his or her writing and have others guess the identity.

Idea 3: Birth Date Biography 

They can create a birth date biography. How many days have you been alive? What was in the news and what songs were people listening to at the time? Students can use online resources to answer specific questions. Additionally, other teachers can collaborate with their classes by sharing their research.

Idea 4: Celebrity Guest 

Students can invite an imaginary celebrity guest. They can research a historical figure and write an introduction for this figure. Also, they can tell about his or her accomplishments throughout life. Furthermore, the person can tell what he or she will be discussing during the visit.

Idea 5: Magazine Cover 

They can create a magazine cover for people of the Century . Just like Time Magazine , they can create a list of the 100 influential people. The list can be organized into groups and ranked in order of importance. Who do your students view as the top ten leaders and revolutionaries?  Artists and entertainers? Builders and titans, heroes and icons? After they have compiled a list of their picks, students can vote. Next, students can read Time’s lists and compare the results. Do they agree with the findings of the readers of Time?

Idea 6: Choose the Greatest American 

You can have students choose the greatest American. What one person best represents the qualities of citizenship? Specifically, who has qualities that might qualify that person to be selected as “the greatest American”? Your students may decide! Furthermore, have them read about historical figures. Then, instruct each student to choose a person he or she feels deserves this title. Afterward, have students create an award for him or her. The student should define the characteristics that set this person apart from other Americans. Additionally, hold a class discussion to determine whether any students have chosen the same individual and why.

Idea 7: Biographies Study Guides

Another fun project is to create a biographies study guides , which can be done digitally or in person. Students can benefit from study guides when they are used in the classroom. Now it is even easier to make them a part of your curriculum. They can write questions for students to investigate. Be sure to tell them to include an answer sheet!

Idea 8: Newspaper Template 

Lastly, this newspaper template is so versatile and can be used for multiple classes. For example, if using it for a biography project template, students can use the same form for different people. There are even 13 templates for students to select from! Each student can create a newspaper about a person they research. Therefore, students will feel like authors and illustrators writing a biography! The templates will ensure students write all about their person, including their achievements and fun facts!

What is a biographical text I can use in my classroom? 

There are so many incredible biographical texts that can be used in the classroom. However, the ones by Brad Meltzer are a personal favorite of mine! These books are all written in student-friendly language and focus on a variety of people. Also, they focus on the positive impact each person made on society. Additionally, each book includes a timeline with captivating photographs. Also, feel free to go check out my reviews of   Brad Meltzer’s biography series on Ordinary People Change the World .


Since Brad Meltzer has an incredible line of biographies, there are several projects that can be developed by students. Kirsten’s Kaboodle Biography Units have 31 ready to go biography projects. Additionally, the list of people is also diverse, which is so important to include! Therefore, students will be learning about a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds! Furthermore, this is a great way in order to show students there is no obstacle too big to overcome. 


Kirsten’s Kaboodle Biographies Units

The units all involve several standards through hands-on, engaging activities. First, students will be given a biography of a person. Then, there are a variety of ways in order to ensure students understand their personality and accomplishments. For example, students will fill out a chart of basic information, such as date and location of birth. After, students will have important quotes to analyze and writing prompts. Additionally, there are different types of crafts in order for students to show off their artistic side. The units are sure to inspire students, improve their growth mindset, and make them excited for their futures! 

I hope you enjoyed some of these fun ways to make history come alive in your classroom. With some slight modification to assignments, kids will start to love history and historical biographies. Additionally, a biography book project and biography research project may be one’s students never forget! Students’ hearts may even be so touched that they always keep in mind the importance of inspiring others. 

If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining Kirsten’s Kaboodle , you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers! This link will even provide a biography and research templates on Katherine Johnson. Therefore, it is perfect for Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March!

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In terms of bang for your buck, a biography research report packs a punch. It covers a wide range of standards-based skills, and it’s a meaningful student-centered project. Each step of the biographical writing process is outlined below, allowing you to make the most of every minute of instructional time.   


Kick off the assignment by breaking down the term biography. Lead students in a discussion about the word parts bio and graph. You can also take a moment to focus on the differences between a biography and an autobiography by discussing the meaning of the word part auto.  Click here to read more about adding roots, prefixes, and suffixes to your curriculum.

Mentor Text

Start the biographical writing process by examining a mentor text. Mentor texts are pieces of writing that students can return to and reread for different purposes. They are texts that can be studied and imitated. To make sure you don’t overwhelm your students or bombard them with unnecessary information, select a short biographical excerpt (I use the John Muir chapter from Home of the Brave: An American History Book for Kids: 15 Immigrants Who Shaped US History ). After reading through the biographical excerpt together as a class, analyze the major components of a biography using discussion questions that you have prepared ahead of time. Focus your mentor text questions on content, structure, and connection. Three example questions are provided below. 

Text Content: What details does the author provide to begin the biography?

Text Structure: How is the information in the text organized? 

Text Connection: Which elements from this text would you like to include in your biography?

Biography Research Guide

Completing a biography research guide will help your students remain focused and on task. The format and structure of the research guide is based on the needs of your students. Hopefully, the items listed below will point you in the right direction.  

Cover Page : It’s important to review the meaning of the term biography and require students to think critically about who they will research and why. Giving students room to pick the person they will research and write about is what makes this assignment student-centered. Even picking from a list of figures provides students with a sense of choice, helping them take ownership of their learning.  

Things To Keep In Mind : Include a page that reviews important details and things to keep in mind during the research and writing process. You may also want to  include space for students to record due dates.

Bibliography : A bibliography template with space to record source information is helpful for students to utilize while researching.

Research Template : Guide students through the research process with a comprehensive research template.  In order to assist students in crafting a successful biography, include specific criteria for  students to fill in while researching. 

After completing the research portion of the project, your students will be prepared to start writing their biographies. Providing your students with a structured step-by-step outline will ensure that each paragraph of their biography is organized and focused.  

Essay Template

An essay template is nice to have on hand for students that might be struggling with the writing process. It can also be used as a whole-class activity before independent writing begins. Modeling the writing process for students will ease the feelings of stress and provide your students with a roadmap for success. Observing others plays a vital role in how we acquire new knowledge and skills. When applied to this particular project, analyzing the mentor text and modeling the writing process are two ways in which observational learning can be applied.  

“Observing others plays a vital role in how we acquire new knowledge and skills.”  Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory   

Editing Checklist

An editing checklist is extremely helpful for peer or independent editing. Ideally, the checklist will include the assessment of essay content, structure, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The revising process is something that students will develop over time. Providing students with an editing checklist is a helpful learning scaffold until students feel comfortable revising their work independently. 

Students need to start with the end in mind. Reviewing the rubric before starting the research and writing process gives students a clear understanding of the project expectations.

In addition to reinforcing research and writing skills, the biography project will provide your students with an opportunity to think critically about an influential figure and how they might apply some of the lessons learned to their own lives.  

Are you ready to incorporate a biography research report into your curriculum, but don’t have the time to create all of the necessary components? Click here to download everything you need from Literacy in Focus on TpT.  Printable and digital formats are included! 

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