Learning Plans & Activities
Corroborating Research Notes: An Introductory Lesson for Elementary Students

In preparation for an upcoming research project focused on a topic of their choice, students will practice corroborating information found in a variety of sources. This lesson can be done with sources from any topic, as long as there are multiple sources on the subject.






Classroom Teacher; Science Teacher


Students will corroborate information using a variety of sources.

Students will identify information within a variety of sources.

Students will compare found information to determine what information is supported by other findings.


"How Do Hurricanes Form?" NASA, last modified October 10, 2018. https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/hurricanes/en/.

Shepherd, Marshall. "When Nature Strikes: Hurricanes." NBC Learn, original air date September 24, 2015. www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/cuecard/103790.

Plattner, Josh. Hurricane or Waterspout? Super Sandcastle, 2016.


45-60 minutes


AASL National School Library Standards

IV.A.3 Making critical choices about information sources to use.

V.A.1 Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes.

IV.B.3 Systematically questioning and assessing the validity and accuracy of information.

IV.B.4 Organizing information by priority, topic, or other systematic scheme.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

Next Generation Science Standards

ESS3.B: Natural Hazards: A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts. (3-ESS3-1)

Instructional Procedure

Begin the lesson by asking students why they think it may be important to check to see if information is correct. Share with students that one way to check information they find from sources is to compare it with the information from other sources.

Provide each student with their own source from the materials above (or from others that you've curated), either digital or print, that gives information about a common topic, in this case hurricanes. Depending on units of study, any topic may be used as a focus as long as three different sources are available. Giving the sources out equally will assure even grouping later in the lesson.

Ask students to gather information from the source using a note taking system that students are familiar with. Encourage students to put information in their own words as opposed to taking information directly from the text.

After 10-15 minutes, bring students together to categorize information. Ask students what type of information they found about hurricanes. Categories may include how they form, the damage they can do, or historical information about past hurricanes. Choose one of those categories for the next step.

Using three intersecting circles as a graphic organizer, ask students to share information they found from their source. As a student shares information, ask students who used the other two sources to share whether they found information that was the same or similar. Place the information on the organizer based on whether it was confirmed by the other sources or not.

If students seem comfortable triangulating data in this way, put them in groups of three, including one student who used each source, to do the same with a different category. This may also be done again as a whole class instead of in small groups.

Ask students what information is the most trustworthy based on how many times it has been confirmed. Ask how they could verify other information that was found in only one of these three sources.


This lesson may be used with any combination of three sources on a topic. Resources can be text-based or audiovisual. Sources can vary in difficulty for a variety of student abilities. Students may also self-select their sources or work in pairs or small groups.


Students fill out an exit slip responding to the question: "How can comparing the information found in several sources help you when you are learning more about a topic?"

Additional Resources

For additional suggestions on triangulation of notes, see:

Stanley, Deborah B. Practical Steps to Digital Research: Strategies and Skills for School Libraries. Libraries Unlimited, 2018.

About the Author

Tom Bober is a school librarian, 2018 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, and author of the book Elementary Educator's Guide to Primary Sources: Strategies for Teaching. He is a Digital Public Library of America Community Rep, a member of the Teachers Advisory Board for the National Portrait Gallery, and a co-chair of the Education Advisory Committee of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Tom writes about student learning on AASL's Knowledge Quest blog and publications such as School Library Connection and American Libraries and has given workshops and spoken across the country. His foundation is built on over twenty years in public education, with six years as an elementary classroom teacher, seven years as a building and district instructional technology specialist, and over eight years in school libraries. Find him at https://tombober.com/ and on Twitter @CaptainLibrary.

MLA Citation Bober, Tom. "Corroborating Research Notes: An Introductory Lesson for Elementary Students." School Library Connection, November 2018, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2180592.

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Entry ID: 2180592

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