The Common Core standards specify that students need to conduct both brief and sustained research and that this research be woven into many different classroom lessons and activities. Likewise, standards throughout the Common Core reflect the need for students to participate in activities in which they gather and synthesize information and then come to their own conclusions.
This lesson/ hand-out guides them through the process described above. It first allows students to develop their own curiosities having to do with a non-fiction article or text of your choice. Students "mark up" the text with their own questions and comments, and then turn those thoughts into research questions. I have used this template during a variety of different units and have found that they are extremely engaged when they are allowed to do research on things that they are personally interested in. After they are well-informed on the topic, this hand-out walks them through making a claim, checking to make sure that their claim is debatable and defensible, and then moving them through the process of finding evidence to support their claim. Finally, it has students put all of their information together in to an Argumentative Essay. (This document includes an Argument Essay template as well, with reminders and formatting instructions to help students put their information together with ease.)