Tag Archives: search strategies

Boost Online Search Strategies: A Fun Activity

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.

technoearth icon

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

search strategies

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

boost search strategies

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

search drop down

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

search people 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

search strategies

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

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?

technoearth
Design an infographic using Google Sites. Improve research skills and search strategies.

Boost Search Strategies with Middle School Students

web design for kids Google Sites

There is LOTS of information on the Internet. When students are conducting searches for specific topics, they can become overloaded with results. Irrelevant sites, limited skimming and scanning skills, advertising, and unreliable data are all factors that can make online searching time-consuming. Competent Internet search strategies can help students to locate high-quality sites quickly to get the facts they need.

Here’s a list of tips to boost Internet searches. In the next blog, we’ll post an activity to use with students to discover different ways of finding information by applying these tips.

search strategies
TechnoEarth includes a skill review to boost search strategies.

Search Strategies to Find Information FAST!

Try many keywords:

search strategies

Some topics have more than one term used to describe it. Each will provide different results.

Be specific:

boost search strategies

To narrow search results use a phrase that states exactly what you want. The more precise, the better.

Pick from the dropdown menu:

search drop down

As you type into the search box, a list of suggested phrases appears. This can save you time typing. Plus, it offers helpful keywords.

Refer to People also ask:

search people ask

The People also ask section has popular questions. The answers can quickly provide you with the information you seek.

Check the URL:

search strategies

Look for sites that are well known organizations, government agencies, or educational pages. The URL of these sites end with .org, .gov, or .edu.

Skim and scan:

skim and scan

Read the title. Check the description for the keyword. It will be bold. Glance over the text looking for words that match the facts you need.

Notice if the site is an Ad:

boost search strategies

Websites can pay to be at the top of the search results. The listing will be labeled Ad. Just because it is first does not mean it is the best.

Check the sources:

search strategies sources

A website may list their sources of information. Often, they are links to online articles. Verify that they are high-quality. If they are, use them.

Use Find to highlight facts:

search strategies using find

If there is a lot of text, use the Find feature. Press CTRL+F on the keyboard. Type a word into the search box. If it is on the page, it will highlight. Jump to each place where the word appears using the Previous and Next buttons.

Use multiple search engines:

search strategies using search engines

Use more than one search engine such as: Bing, Google, or Duck Duck Go. Each provides different results.


TechnoEarth to Boost Search Strategies

technoearth icon
TechnoEarth Technology Project

TechnoKids’ newest project, TechnoEarth, inspires students to become environmental stewards. As they research an important issue, they develop and refine search strategies. Then, using Google Sites, they design an interactive, web-based infographic that outlines the cause, harmful effects, and solutions. The publication also summarizes stakeholders, highlights interesting facts, and pinpoints the location of the problem. Students inform the public about the environmental issue, raise awareness, and spark action.

Check out the next blog post to get a fun activity from TechnoEarth. Students search for information and explore these tips to build proficient search skills.

New! TechnoSite Web Design Lessons for Google Sites

It’s here! TechnoKids’ all-new project TechnoSite makes it simple for students to become creative and competent web designers.

TechnoSite

In this project, students use Google Sites to construct a professional looking, multi page website. Incorporating their own content, images, and links, they create a website that includes links to fun places for kids on the World Wide Web. Along the way, they learn how to become website critics, rate the quality and safety of popular sites, and develop essential search strategies.

It has never been easier to quickly create a custom website. With a free Google account, not only do students have access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps (and more!) but Google Sites as well. Use the templates, themes, and familiar tools to build fun and engaging web pages. Collaborate online with peers. Then publish and share information and ideas with classmates, a team, club, or interest group. Pick a topic and you’re ready to design!

What Can You Do with Google Sites?

Google Sites website

Design a multi-page website with TechnoSite and Google Sites.

TechnoSite gives students the building blocks of a website. Following illustrated, detailed instructions in the Student Workbook, they can use Google Sites to:

  • apply a theme to have a consistent, professional looking design
  • create a banner and pick a background image
  • use suggested layouts to arrange information
  • add text, images, dividers, hyperlinks, and hotspots
  • incorporate video
  • include a logo
  • design a photo gallery
  • insert an Image Carousel
  • position a navigation bar
  • and lots more!

Google Sites Preview

Google Sites preset themes and layouts allow students to quickly make a professional looking site. In this Preview mode, you can see what the site will look like on a wide screen, tablet, or phone.

What Will Students Learn Using TechnoSite?

Before beginning to build their website, students are introduced to the World Wide Web. They master internet terminology such as web browser and home page. They learn how to critique websites using standard criteria: navigation ease, appearance, content, and safety. Then a rating scale is applied to decide if the sites may earn their “Kid Stamp of Approval”. Students also become Super Searchers as they compare search engines, scan and filter results, and try different keyword phrases.

TechnoSite integrates a variety of learning skills as student build their websites. Following is a condensed selection from the Skill Summary included in the Assessment Tools in the project:

Digital Literacy

  • use appropriate keywords to locate information using search engines
  • determine whether a website is appropriate for children
  • collaborate with a peer to improve the quality of a website

Language Arts

  • organize research using a planner
  • describe a website to summarize the content and entice visitors to click on the link
  • reflect upon the web design process

Internet Skills

  • use keyword suggestions to locate resources on the Internet
  • scan search results to discern the website that is the best match
  • analyze the results of different search engines

Web Design Skills

  • customize design using a banner, theme, and images
  • insert text, images, dividers, and video
  • insert and test hyperlink and hotspots

What Is Included in TechnoSite?

When you purchase TechnoSite, everything teachers need to complete the project and teach students to build a website is included in the resources:

  1. Teacher Guide in pdf format for printing or viewing
  2. Student Workbook in pdf format for printing or viewing
  3. Assessment Tools: Student Checklists and Teacher Marking Sheet and Skill Summary
  4. Sample Websites using Google Sites
  5. Reviews, Skill Reviews, and Extension Activities to support learning

You’re ready. Order and download TechnoSite today and your students will become skilled web designers tomorrow!