“Near” Paperless Research Practice

Note this is one of the posts I will be bringing over from my previous blog.  This was originally posted on May 31, 2012.

One of the skills that I feel is very important for students, regardless of their age, is the ability to find desired information while completing research.  When I was in school, and even during my early college years, finding research primarily involved looking through stacks and stacks of books.  Occasionally, we would get to use the microfiche reader, but the microfiche library was limited in regards to most topics.  Today information can be found with a simple internet search. Even though the searching process has been made easier, searching for information still requires a set of skills.

 Instead of skimming for information while sifting through the stacks of books, today students need to know the best wording when completing an internet search.  They need to understand that sometimes simply switching one word can bring completely different search results.  Another lesson they need to learn is that being too specific, in many cases, will hinder an internet search.  Many of the students in my homeroom experienced this when working on a “Book Trailer” project earlier in the school year.  At first when my students were looking for a picture to represent a character they would search the exact name of the character.  In most cases this would lead to few or no images.  However, when students searched for “10 year old boy” instead of the character by name they were able to find many useful images.

 My two fifth grade social studies classes are just beginning, World War II, our last unit of the school year.  For this exercise I created a partially filled chart (see the modified version at the bottom).  My students were in charge of using their Safari on their iPods or other sources (including their textbook) to complete the chart.  Some of the information to fill in the blanks in the chart would be easy to find, while I anticipated the information for other blanks would be more difficult to find.

 Almost all of my students had a great deal of success when filling in the first two columns.  Most of the information was easy to find when using a search engine such as Yahoo or Google.  When creating the chart I had anticipated that the third column would be the most challenging for my students.  This was for the simple reason that despite many mini lessons a lot of my students still believe they are getting information from Yahoo and Google.  Of course, they are simply using Yahoo and Google as a way to search for information on other websites.

 Overall, this activity was very successful.  It gave me a chance to reiterate that Yahoo and Google are not sources.  Additionally, it also gave my students a chance to practice their research and internet search skills.  In the future I hope to find a way (other than constantly switching between apps) to eliminate using paper for the chart.




January 30, 1933


France surrenders to the Axis Powers


December 7, 1941



Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S.  The U.S. declares war on the Axis Powers.


September 8, 1943





April 12, 1945



Mussolini is killed.


May 1, 1945



Germany Surrenders


August 6, 1945



Second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.


September 2, 1945




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