Using Search Engines to Learn about Search Engines
Methods of Teaching: (choose from six)
Guide -- Discovery Learning
Audience Grade Level:
Senior high school through adult learners
The learner will acquire skills and competencies in the use of Internet search engines.
1. The learner will understand the basics of search engine operation.
2. The learner will understand the use of keywords in the search process and the use of Boolean operators.
3. The learner will understand the different search strategies of several popular search engines.
4. The learner will apply his skills by successfully completing a web scavenger hunt.
The lesson correlates to the following Pennsylvania Standards for Science and Technology: Standard 3.6, Technology Education
Core Lesson Plan Activities
Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction) WELES: FRAME
Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction):
Using a prepared PowerPoint presentation, the instructor sets the stage for a look at search engines and their use in today's information age. The ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the perceived need for fast and easy access of information is offered and discussed.
Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction) -- Supporting Web Information:
Background for placing the Internet in general and search engines in particular:
The Internet Society offers many links to Internet history.
Lesson Activity #2 WELES: INFORM.
Lesson Activity #2:
The instructor will use a PowerPoint presentation to review a brief history of electronic searching, its major players today and their fundamental differences, as well as the importance of web search to modern research. Part of the presentation will include the different search strategies of major search engines, such as keyword, indexing, and ranking.
Lesson Activity #2-- Supporting Web Information:
Wiley Publishers offers companion resource material to their books online:
Big Mouth Media, "Your Voice on the Web," offers information about the Internet's rise and it's importance to today's world.
Lesson Activity #3 WELES: INFORM.
Lesson Activity #3:
The instructor will explain search techniques such as keywords, phrases and Boolean operators. A handout with basic search tips, examples and student exercises is distributed.
Lesson Activity #3-- Supporting Web Information:
Basic Search Tips from the University of South Carolina's Beaufort Library.
ImageScape's HelpWeb offers a consumer's guide to search engines.
Searchengines.com is "Your complete Search Engine resource center."
Lesson Activity #4 WELES: EXPLORE
Lesson Activity #4:
The learner will participate in a search engine "scavenger hunt." Given a handout containing the rules and requirements, the learner will search for required information using a minimum of two different search engines each with a different search strategy as presented in Activity #2
Lesson Activity #4 Supporting Web Information:
Many, many pre-made Internet scavenger hunts from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Internet Hunt Activities created by Cindy O'Hora
Math Forum's Internet scavenger hunt page.
A sample scavenger hunt from Prairie Hills, Nebraska
Lesson Activity #5 WELES: TRY
Lesson Activity #5:
The learner will select a topic (or one will be assigned) of a broad and general historical nature (e.g. The Civil War, The U.S Presidency, The Fifty States). The learner will construct an outline of topics and subtopics stemming from the main topic, which results from using search engines on the Internet. The learner will document each level and sub-level of the outline with a supporting website and list the search engine used to find the reference. As a culminating activity, the learner will write a brief essay that summarizes the search strategies and search engines he or she found to be most effective.
Lesson Activity #5 Supporting Web Information:
The Library of Congress offers its own classification outline that can be used by the learner as a first reference:
The lesson is easily flexible depending on the level of students involved and time period allotted. The lesson is designed to move the learner through each of the four WELES strategies of Frame, Inform, Explore and Try and in doing so, the instructor moves from dispenser of information, to guide and resource person.