Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 1: Informational Text, Research, and Inquiry Circles - Animals and Habitats

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Common Core Standards

Reading Informational Text

RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

Speaking and Listening 

SL.1.1(c) Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.

SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.


W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of "how-to" books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.


L.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Description of Unit

This Grade 1 unit titled “Informational Text, Research, and Inquiry Circles: Animals and Habitats”  from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is intended to be completed in fifteen 45-60 minute ELA/Literacy instructional sessions. Lessons guide students through the research process as they are introduced to informational texts. It is structured around an Inquiry Circle (Immersion, Investigation, Coalescence, and Going Public) to accommodate various learning opportunities and learners.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. The "General Notes and Resources" section contains an overview of instructional guidance.  To support the students’ research, the teacher will need to gather together a wide selection of books about animals and habitats, although additional information about research libraries can be found in Appendix A of the unit.  The curriculum developers suggest that this unit be taught mid-year or later.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is an exemplary example of how to integrate science content with literacy. This curriculum model could easily be adapted to any content area. It provides all students with multiple and varied opportunities to study subject-specific content as they learn about informational texts, participate in inquiry circles, conduct research, and participate in class presentations. Technology, media, and authentic learning tasks cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Formative and summative assessments that are clearly aligned to the Common Core Standards provide students with the scaffolding needed for success.