Inspiration – Narrowing a Topic for Research
Grades 5 & 6
Students will use Inspiration software to create outlines and webs as a tool for organizing
research projects. Students demonstrate the ability to focus ideas, narrowing from a
broad topic to a more specific one.
In grade 5, students enter the main topic of their research project into a web using
Inspiration software. Students then use the web to structure information into major topics
and supporting details. Students convert the web to an outline.
In grade 6, students use Inspiration to create an outline. When finished with the outline,
students will convert this outline to a web.
CURRICULUM/CONTENT AREA TECHNOLOGY SCOPE & SEQUENCE
5.4.1 6.3 (a-e)
Have students pick a topic for their research project.
Have the class brainstorm areas of investigation regarding their topic. They should
record these using the Inspiration RapidFire tool.
Students should then group these areas into 4 or 5 categories.
Students research their main topic, paying attention to their 4 or 5 categories.
Students should return to their Inspiration document and narrow their research to the 3
most interesting categories.
Students in grade 5 will use the note tool to add detailed information into their diagram.
Students in grade 6 will switch to Outline vie to further develop their ideas.
Students can enter URLs of the web pages they’ve consulted into a diagram to begin a
*See pages 3-4 for directions on Inspiration software.
Tools and Resources
Hardware: Macintosh desktop or laptop computers
Websites: As determined by student research needs
Student-created maps and outlines will be graded by the research teacher as a portion of
the student’s overall Research grade.
Bea Edwards & Janet Rummel
Zionsville Middle School
1. Click on Inspiration
2. The diagram (map/web) will appear
3. Click on top menu item “View”.
4. Select “Header/Footer”.
5. Click on down arrow beside “Auto-Fill” and select “Spelled out full date” for
left header, your name should be in center header and teacher’s name should
be in right header.
6. The same goes for Center header and Right header (or it could be footer)
7. If you want date, just click on date and it will insert the day for you…you do
not have to type it in.
8. Click OK.
9. Click on top menu item “File”, select Print Preview and you can see what you
just did, but it does not show on the regular page.
10. Click OK to return to diagram.
11. Save by doing the following:
a. Click on top menu item “File” and select “Save”.
b. The main idea will appear (have students put their last name beside
this or something to denote their personal file name).
c. Save to the designated location.
12. Delete main idea and type the main idea inside that symbol.
13. Click inside and a white box will appear where you may begin typing your
14. Make any symbol (bubble) active by clicking on it until you see 4 red square
corners and 4 red diamonds. The bottom right square will enlarge the
symbol or reduce it. Any diamond will link to another symbol (must click
right in the center outside point of the diamond for the link to appear and
the connecting symbol must turn gray for the link to occur.
15. As long as the symbol is active (4 squares and 4 diamonds) you can resize,
reformat and/or move.
16. Several ways to form a link in addition to the use of the diamond.
a. Activate symbol, click on the 2nd row menu item “Symbol” and click
where you want another link on the page.
b. Activate symbol then click on the 2nd row menu item “Create”
or (click on arrow of desired direction).
c. Activate symbol, click on the 2nd row menu item “Rapid Fire” and a red
bolt will appear. Start typing text and then press enter or return and
the link will appear. You may continue to type from this location as
long as you want your link to connect from the activated symbol.
17. If symbol pallet disappears, click on top menu item “View” and select Symbol
Palette. The same holds true for the tool bar.
18. Spell check can be found in top menu item “Tools”.
19. To manipulate a link (reverse, etc.) select top menu item “Link”.
20. Each symbol appearance can be changed by:
a. Activating the symbol
b. Select item from the symbol palette and the image will be changed.
South American countries (6th)
State in the U. S. (5th)
Using Inspiration as a Web/Concept Map
1. Students will use Inspiration to formulate a concept map using their country
(state) or (topic) as the main idea. Students will do research using Grolier
Online found on the library media center home page.
2. They will look for 6 significant features about that country, state or topic
such as climate, education, native language(s), religions, government etc.
3. These features will be illustrated with relevant symbols from the symbol
palette…example…climate could be illustrated with…
4. Students must cite their source by putting URL or web address of their
source in a bubble all by itself entitled: Work Cited:
5. All information must fit onto one page.
6. Save and ask permission to print.