Lesson 1--Why Should We Use A Database?

Lesson Plan Title: Why We Use A Database?

General Goals

During this lesson students will gain an understanding of what a database is, how it is created, and what purpose it serves. By comparing and contrasting using traditional print materials to that of digital databases, students will have gain hands on experience that will guide them in learning about databases and their use.

Specific Objectives

  • Students will be able to understand why using a database for research is important
  • Students will be able to give a definition of database

Required Materials

  • Several titles of print magazine subscriptions, including but not limited to, with many volumes of each totaling of at least 100 issues
    • Time
    • Newsweek
    • Audobon
    • Business Week
    • Odyssey
    • Consumer Reports
    • National Geographic
    • U.S. News and World Reports
    • Popular Science
    • Smithsonian
    • Kids Discover
    • Sports Illustrated

Step-By-Step Procedures

  • Explain that they are going to work as a group to find as much information on a topic that they can using the magazine shown.
  • They will use the worksheet as a guide to finding the information that they are looking for.
  • Ask: “What will your strategy be so that you will find the most relevant information from all of these magazine?” In other words, "How do you plan on looking at as many of these magazinges as possible and retrieve the most information possible in the next 20 inutes?"
  • Allow 20 minutes for them to fill out the worksheet and find the information that they need. Walk around and see what kind of issues the groups may be encountering. Ask “Do you think you need to re-adjust your strategy to find what you are looking for?” and “How do you think you could do this activity better?”
  • After 20 minutes bring the groups back to discuss what they found. Ask, “How many of you found useful information?” “How many of you found no useful information?” “Do you think this is an effective way to find information?” “Why or Why not?” “What do you think made this so difficult?” “How could we make this process of finding information from magazine and journals easier?” (10 minutes)
  • Explain that there is a much easier way to look in every single one of these magazines at the same time. It is called s database. At this point have the students take out their notebooks and take a short set of notes that include:
    • A database is an online collection of many magazines and journal articles all in one spot.
    • All the different magazine and journals can be searched at the same time in each database. This makes it much easier to locate a variety of information from several different sources at the same time.
    • We use databases because they save us time and allow us to limit our searching to only things that should be relevant in some way.
    • Most databases must be subscribed to and therefore cost money to access.

Assessment Based On Objectives

  • Students will be assessed only in terms of participation in the activity and discussion at this time.


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