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May 14th-15th

posted May 14, 2015, 7:40 AM by Mike Costello   [ updated May 14, 2015, 12:08 PM ]
Typing web - 20 min
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SHMOOP #6 & #6.5 – Online Research and Keyword Search Techniques Activity: Research Basics & Keywords

Instructions for You – 75 Mins

Objective: Looking for info today ≠ your granny’s library card catalog. The first, last, and oftentimes only line of defense that students use to do research (at least in high school and beyond) is the Internet. Along with a host of delicious morsels of 411 goodies, come the challenges of knowing how to find the information that a student actually needs.

In this activity, students will explore and use different search engines. Students answer questions about the challenges of conducting online research, and learn how to narrow searches and find useful intel on the Web and specific websites.

Materials Needed: 

Step 1 (5-10 mins):  How many of you use the Internet to find information, and what kind of information it is.

It’s a big bad 411-filled world out there – and it’s got your number. Let’s see if you have its addy. How many of you have done research online before? What search sites did you use? [Possible answers: Google, Yahoo, Bing] What info were you looking for? Research sounds pretty academic and yawny, but it can also be fun. Whenever you check on a movie time, for example, you’re doing research. Yelping a new restaurant? Research!

As a class, brainstorm what kinds of questions they might use the Internet to answer. Remind students that research doesn’t just mean school or academics. Here are some possible answers:

  • Movie times (Fandango, anyone?)

  • Driving directions (Google maps and MapQuest come to mind here)

  • Quality of restaurants (Yelp!)

  • Movie and video game reviews (Rotten Tomatoes, IGN)

  • Cell phone plans

  • Recipes

  • Used iPads for sale (eBay, Craigslist)

  • What movie Taylor Lautner will be in next (IMDb)

  • Coupons and deals (Groupon, LivingSocial)

Step 2 (15 mins): Pass out copies of the "Google Search Madness" handout.  Independently search for the answers to the questions on the handout.

You will have 10 minutes to find the answers.  When you have found all of the answers, raise your hand. Winners will earn 10 Bonus Points.  Note:  Do Not use

Step 3 (3 mins):  As a class we will watch the "Searching the Web" video, which will provide some useful tips on keywords and phrases.

Step 4 (3-5 mins):  As a class we will read through the four tips on the "Google Search Pro Tips" handout, which gives specific tips on improving the keywords and phrases you enter into the Google search engine.  Does anyone have any other tips to add.

Step 5 (10-15 mins):  Students go to the second page of the handout, which lists search scenarios and requires them to come up with good search terms.  You'll all be competing to see who comes up with the best search results (the keywords/phrases that offer the fewest total results on Google).

Students read the scenarios, then come up with a few search terms they think are good, based on the tips they've learned.  Be sure to enter your search terms into Google, recording the total number of results for each keyword/phrase (probably will be in the thousands, if not millions) and the number of websites that look relevant on the first page of their Google results.

You will have 10 minutes to work on this then we will share your best search term and results for each of the four scenarios. The student with the lowest number of search results wins. (Use your judgment to ensure that the keyword/phrase will actually offer good results.)  Winners will earn 10 Bonus Points

Step 6 (5 mins):  Discussion with students about using keywords:

  1. How did you find your best search results?

  2. Which search techniques were most useful? Which is your new favorite technique?

  3. Was it hard to come up with good options for search terms?

  4. What kinds of questions do you think are the hardest to answer using a search engine?

Step 7 (4 minutes) – OPTIONAL: At this point, some of your students might be pretty curious about how search engines work. Direct them to watch "How Search Works," a video created by Google. This video isn't only interesting, but also provides some useful info on how Google uses keywords to provide a list of results.

SHMOOP #8.5 – Using and Citing Online Sources Activity: In Plain Cite: How To Credit Others' Work

Instructions for You – 30 Mins

Objective: Using someone else's ideas without giving them proper props is a total no-no. We'll be real about some of the finer points of plagiarism and how to avoid it in some later activities, but for now let's assume that no one here will EVER EVER EVER plagiarize and focus on the positive: how to give someone their props, a.k.a. cite them.

Students will understand why citing others' work and ideas is so crucial to doing school and life right, and learn how to write some simple bibliographical citations in MLA and Chicago formats. Students answer critical questions, participate in classroom discussion, and compete for who can do the best and fastest citations.

Materials Needed: 

  • Computer with Internet access

Step 1 (5-10 mins):  As  a class we will read the following article.  Open the link to the KY Virtual Library article "Why Cite Information Sources."  This will provide an overview on why it's important to credit others' work, and what a citation is. After reading the article, begin a discussion about citing work:

  1. Why is it important to cite your information sources?

  2. Have you ever read some "facts," maybe online, that didn't provide sources? Did you wonder where they got their information from?

  3. When might you want to look into the sources for an article you've read?

  4. Have you ever had to cite your sources in class before, maybe for a research paper?

Step 2 (2-5 mins):  Discussion/Explanation that there are three primary ways to cite information sources for humanities and social science materials:  MLA, Chicago, and APA.  It doesn't really matter what these names stand for, but what they're used for does matter. Run through the following information with the class:

  • MLA citation format is generally used for English class.

  • Chicago citation format is generally used for history.

  • APA citation format is generally used for psychology, and sometimes for other social sciences.  (This will likely be the format you will use at DDHS except for your English classes)

Step 3 (15 mins):  Go to DDHS’ homepage – Go to Library and Media Center (red Quick Link box on right) – Go to David Douglas High School – Go to GALE, OSLIS, LearningExpress Library & Citation Maker (Online Library Resources on right side) – Open Cite My Sources – Open APA CITATION MAKER

Using Citation Maker, you will create five Citations for each of the following and then Save in Word – SAVE TO YOUR DESKTOP AS P#_First Last Name_Citation Maker:

  • On Course:  Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life

  • One source from each of your four search terms on your Google Search Pro Tips Worksheet

    • The science of how eclipses work

    • Quote from The Princess Bride . . . Prepare to die

    • ‘90s toy – the plastic troll

    • Data on how many people lost their jobs in 2011

Standards Met

  • Common Core Standards: ELA 6-8th Grade Standards: Reading 1, 2; Reading for Informational Text 1, 2, 4, 7; Writing 2d, 3d, 5, 6, 8; Speaking and Listening 1bcd, 2

  • 21st Century Skills: Information, Media, and Technology Skills: Access and Evaluate Information, Use and Manage Information, Analyze Media; Life and Career Skills: Interact Effectively with Others, Work Effectively in Diverse Teams.

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