Google, What?

Summary

In this lesson, search engines are introduced in more detail. Emphasis is placed on the fact that these are collections rather than selections and that there are no humans involved in the collection process. Students explore some search engines to see the differences in results.

Objectives

After this lesson, students will

Materials

Hard copy of this lesson plan PowerPoint slides Now You Try It #3 (PDF) Now You Try It #3 (Word)

Preparation

Activities

Time Activity
5
min

Review

  • Review Lesson #2: Three steps for Internet research
  • Review subscription databases and subject directories
15
min

What is a Search Engine and How Does it Work?

  • Robots (“Spiders, Webcrawlers”)
  • No more human selection
  • Collection rather than selection—everything on the Web is included in a search
  • Show Google and show number of sites indexed (at bottom of front page) and number of hits for a key word (e.g. “Columbus”).
10
min

Getting Results

  • Getting results with a search engine vs. subject directory
    1. Search engine gives many irrelevant hits
    2. Subject directory gives fewer but more focused results
  • Let students check comparison of hits between a directory and a search engine for a specific topic
  • Emphasize that fewer is better!
10
min.

Additional Examples

  • Specific examples of search results
    1. any current classroom topic
    2. explorer
    3. What if the librarian were a search engine crawler? (Show examples of books that have irrelevant content but include the search term.)
  • Student exploration time to try searches on current class topics, personal research topics, or both, using both subject directories and search engines.
15
min

Now You Try It!

  • Student partners work together to search for their explorer by name in each of the following:
    1. Subscription database
    2. Subject directory
    3. Google
  • Record the number of hits for each search on the Now You Try It! worksheet.
  • Write down which search method would be the best choice for correcting the wrong info at AAE and why.
5
min

Summary & Preview of Next Lesson

  • Review and emphasize that search engines are completely programmed—no human judgement or evaluation is done for you.
  • Next lesson will focus on how to navigate on the Web and evaluate web sites.