In the previous post, we listed a set of tips to develop online search strategies. Try this skill building activity with middle school students to apply those tips and raise awareness of ways to find trustworthy information fast.
This activity is from TechnoKids technology project TechnoEarth. In this project, students learn how to use Google Sites to design an interactive infographic about an environmental issue. The search activity below is a Skill Review from Session 1, in which students learn about environmental stewardship and infographics. Then they pick a topic of their choice and use a template to research the cause, harmful effects, stakeholders, location, and solution.
Explore Online Search Strategies
1. Try many keywords
Some topics use different terms to mean the same thing. For example, both algal bloom and algae bloom refer to lots of algae in water. Compare the search results for algal bloom and algae bloom. Look at the list of sites, questions, images, or videos on the page.
- Are the results the same for algal bloom and algae bloom?
- If no, which keyword do you think is the best? Why?
2. Be specific
Pretend your research topic is poaching of rhinos.
- What is a solution to the problem?
- To narrow the search results, what phrase did you use?
3. Pick from the dropdown menu
The dropdown menu in the search box suggests keywords. Let’s say you are researching smog. List two suggested phrases you think would be helpful.
4. Refer to People also ask
Many people ask questions about environmental issues. Search for plastic pollution. List a question from the People also ask section that you find interesting.
5. Check the URL
The website address can give a clue about who made the web page. Find a government website about overfishing. The URL might end .gov or .gc.ca.
- What is the URL?
6. Skim and Scan
Save time! Find a website about harmful effects of acid rain. Scan the search results for words that match the facts you need.
- Which search result do you think will be the best? List the title.
- Scan the description. Which keywords are in bold text?