Background to Begin
We needed a research booster for our 5th graders! Based on their needs, we created a few mini lessons to supplement the important research that is very much a part of 5th grade new learning and standards. There is most definitely a time and place for database instruction, but the teachers were more concerned about their ability to navigate Google effectively and efficiently for research purposes. Here's a little overview of our breakdown:
Day One: How the Internet Works, How Google Works, Using the Right Search Terms
Day Two: Evaluating Websites
Day Three: Review, Find & Cite
Some of the GREAT sources we drew from included:
An Interview with the Kids
Rewind to about two months ago, how were researching? What were doing?
Ab: We used to use full sentences which would take more time to get results on Google.
Aubrey: We would type multiple sentences into the Google search.
Megan: We wouldn't click into the website, we'd just click on the first search item on the list.
Can you share a little about the lessons in class?
Johnny: We were put into groups (based on MarioKart, of course) and we were tasked with certain search terms. We had to see which searches gave us the best information the fastest. Usually, the more specific the search, the more efficient it was!
Ava: The Google Search bar, when you type in things, the algorithm may not support your search and can give you the wrong answers, so you have to check.
Alex: If you type in the whole question, it will search every single word, making it hard to get what you're really Iooking for.
Nick: The search engines look for scammers that create fake websites.
Noah: We found this Wikipedia site that described corn as a dangerous vegetable.
Sophia: I was totally tricked by a fake website that looked real.
What did you take away? What do you do now?
Ajwa: We use specific and key words and no punctuation in Google searches.
Lukas: We evaluate sites and look for a credible one.
Rayan: You should look at the domain (.org or .gov) to determine if it's a safe site. Look at the author of the site and publication date. You can even include site:edu or site:gov in the actual Google search bar.
Sophia: Ctrl + F to find search terms easily on a website. This helps you narrow your research.
Megan: Don't be distracted my advertisements. Some websites are trying to have you click on them and/or buy stuff.
Giuliana: Websites can be tricky. Be careful!
Emilia: When you Google search, don't think that everything that shows up from a search is true. You can't just believe it automatically.
Lukas: If there are ads, it may not be a credible source.
Ava: Don't get fooled by Wikipedia... it's editable.
These 5th Graders blew us away with their enthusiasm, commitment to best practice, and new learning. They completely shifted the way they view researching- and for the better! Based on formative assessment and student reflection, they have really picked up on ways to refine their researching skills. We hope that this insight will be a part of their lives for decades to come!