Answering questions about Victorian toys
Internet searching activity exemplifying work within NC Level 4
Pupils were asked to use a search engine to find out about a set of strangely named Victorian Toys. They were introduced to the search engine at www.google.com and shown how to enter keywords to produce a list of results.
Pupils were shown how adding keywords or phrases can improve a search by reducing the number of results. Discussions took place about the type of words that are useful as keywords in a search.
Pupils were shown how to scan the list of results and select suitable sounding sites. They were reminded how to skim read a web page to search for the information they required. They were shown how to use the 'back' button to return to the list of search results if the chosen site was of no use.
Pupils were shown how to copy text and pictures from a web page and paste them into a word processor. They worked as a pair on a single computer.
Examples of work
The pupils' first set of keywords "victorian toy" produced a large set of results, but it was quickly noticed the results were too general to locate information about individual toys.
The pupils decided to search for each toy individually. The pupils then entered the string "jack in the box". The results produced a list of links to commercial sites. They browsed these for a short time before realising the need to change their search terms.
In their next attempt the pupils combined keywords and phrases, entering "toy jack in the box".
Moving on to the next toy, the children returned to the search engine and entered the single keyword "thaumatrope". This produced a short list of results, all of which looked useful. The pupils quickly located a site that provided a description of how to make your own thaumatrope. The pupils highlighted and copied the section of text that described how this spinning toy works. Then they selected a suitable picture.
In this example the pupils used a search engine to locate specific information in text and picture form. They reviewed information from a number of sources and were able quickly to reject unsuitable web sites. They refined their searches using strings and adding extra keywords to reduce the number of results they had found. They selected relevant sections from web pages and applied techniques such as cut and paste to gather the information they had selected.
The searching techniques demonstrated by the pupils show aspects of Level 4, but they would need further opportunities to synthesise their own account from the sources, and refine the way the work is presented. Copied text, pasted into a document, cannot be regarded as a finished project!
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