Effective Search engines
Lesson Synopsis: Effective web searchers use a variety of techniques to find the material they’re looking for. They build on background knowledge to form their search, think about what good results might be, try multiple keywords and read through results carefully.
Lets begin begins by introducing the idea of a search engine and explaining how it works. It then helps you demonstrate how keywords can be used in conjunction with search operators to refine queries.
Driving questions & goals:
What is a search engine? What does a search engine search?
How do we tell a search engine to show results that we want to receive?
What is search refinement?
How do we retrieve the most accurate results possible using refinement?
Students will learn what a search engine is, and what it does
Students will learn basic search operators, including keyword/phrase and exact keyword/phrase, “or”, and “not”.
Students will be able to select and utilize operators to refine their search results.
Alternative / add-in: Students will think about how their background knowledge can improve searches.
PActivity 1: Defining a search engine “do now”
Answer the following question using a What is a web search engine? Be sure to write about what you think a search engine does, and what it searches. Try to explain how a search engine knows what to give you when you use it to search for something.
Activity 2: Modeling how a search engine works
When we use search engines, we enter keywords – things we’re searching for. But we also need to use operators, which help us be more precise about what we’re searching for. Operators are words like NOT and OR. They help us be specific about removing or adding results from our search.
NOT means that we don’t want to receive something as a result. OR means we want EITHER thing 1 OR thing 2.
Let’s try that out, using ourselves as the search results. When you hear a search that sounds like it fits you, stand up. If it doesn’t fit you, remain seated.
Search 1: “Student” [All students should stand] … and, sit back down
Search 2: “Student” “girl” [All female students should stand]… and, sit back down
Search 3: “student” “girl” OR “boy” [All students should stand]… and, sit back down
Search 4: “student” NOT “wearing” “red” “shoes” [All students not wearing red shoes should stand]… and, sit back down
Ask several students to think of a search for something that will make between three and five fellow students stand up. Can the students use OR and NOT in the same search?
Search 5 and 6: Students give “searching” a try.
Ask: What does OR do?
Ask: What does NOT do?
Ask: How do you think you would use them when you’re searching for something?