Not all databases area created equal. And some are much more complex and dry for elementary students than others. However, the basics of understanding this resource will help students greatly in the upper grades and the years following.
For this week’s lesson, I started by asking students:
- What is a database? Crickets… So I explained
- When would you use a database? Once I explained what it is, then some remembered from last year, and could come up with a few uses.
After that, I demonstrated searching and the various features within World Book Kids. For my demonstration, I searched a topic related to the current classroom PBL unit to keep their interest and show something they have some background knowledge in. Features I was sure to demonstrate for each class:
- Show how to have text read aloud
- Bounce between kids and student versions within the same topic
- Find citation at the bottom of the articles (shown to my 4th-5th graders)
- Biographies, geography, games and other sections found in the bottom of the home screen
Exploration / Closing
I then left time for students to explore World Book Kids and search their own topics. At least 80% of each class wanted to play the games section instead of exploring, so I challenged them to find something new to share out at the end of class first, then they could try out the games for a few minutes. In all, I had given them maybe 5 minutes of exploring time.
They shared with their tables something new they learned within World Book Kids and how they might use a database in the future, then I had someone from each table share out to close the lesson.
Database use can be frustrating for lower readers, English Language Learners, and students with different needs. However, my goal through showing the text to speech features and varying levels of difficulty (kids versus student versions) will hopefully help more of those students feel comfortable researching through digital databases.
In the coming year teaching this lesson, I think I need to pose specific questions for students or tables to answer during the exploration time. I could even somehow tie it into a mini breakout box / like hunt if I get really ambitious.
The engagement level just wasn’t what I was hoping for with this lesson in the Learning Commons. In an upcoming lesson I am teaching Ebscohost Explora and want to think through how to get students excited about database research. Is that too ambitious?