Answering questions about Victorian toys
Internet searching activity exemplifying work within NC Level 3
To use a web site to answer a range of questions within a History topic on Victorians.
Pupils were introduced to a large website containing information about Victorian London. They were shown how to navigate around the website using a sections index on the site. They were reminded to use the 'back' button to return to their main page.
The pupils were given some questions to investigate, concerning the toys boys and girls would play with, and the materials they were constructed from. They were reminded about 'skim reading' a page to locate information quickly.
Examples of work
The pupils easily entered the web site address and began to skim read the introduction page. Working in pairs, the children checked to see if their partner was ready before they scrolled down the page. After reading the introduction page the pupils quickly noticed a 'Toys and Games' link on the section index which they followed. They successfully skim read down the page and located a paragraph containing the information they were seeking.
The pupils were able to record their findings on a writing frame:
The next task involved the pupils investigating when model trains became available as toys. The pupils quickly saw a link in the toys and games section to an article titled Toy and Model Trains.
The pupils did not feel they had found the information from this passage. They made no connection between the appearance of the steam locomotive and the production of model trains and did not pursue this line of enquiry. They decided to use the web site's search facility. They chose to enter the key words 'train dates' but were unable to locate a satisfactory answer from the list of results produced. After some discussion they amended their key words to 'model train'. This produced a list of matches, including details of a model train made in 1904.
The pupils recorded the date that model trains first appeared as 'about 1904', taking their answer from one of the search results. They did not attempt to follow the link and view the information about the locomotive and so finished the activity with a false impression. The pupils also failed to notice a link to a timeline that contained the information.
In this example pupils used ICT purposefully to solve problems. They used stored information to follow a straightforward line of enquiry. The pupils used a single web site to locate information. They successfully navigated the site using hyperlinks and found the answers to focused questions.
The pupils used a simple search tool within the web site to locate further information. They refined their searches by changing key words used. They were not successful in locating the information they required. Instead they stopped their search at the first date they had found and considered the task complete.
To make progress towards Level 4, the pupils could be given opportunities to use other search engines. They could be encouraged to check results obtained from a search and taught to reflect on information found for accuracy.
They could be shown other search strategies, widening the sources of information they would consider using to answer questions. They could be encouraged to reject results that are not helpful and cross check facts from a variety of sources.
They could be given opportunities to organise and develop their work using ICT, presenting information in different forms. They should be encouraged to refine the quality of their work with an awareness of the intended audience.
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