Database Exploration Lesson
One powerful use of computers is to sift through large amounts of data
to find the patterns hidden within them. Take a list of countries, for
example, and look for relationships between the dominant religion and
birthrate; between GNP and literacy; between government type and continent.
In this assignment, you'll identify a standard that could be met by such
exploration, use an online database (or create your own), and describe
how you would implement it with learners. This is an individual assignment.
Each lesson of this type begins with a problem to be solved, an issue
to be explored, a decision to be made, or a question (semi-open ended)
to be grappled with. This lesson format is different from a WebQuest in
that it focuses on a single online database as the source of information.
It is different from a Web Inquiry Project in that it is tightly focused
and well scaffolded.
Some examples of the kinds of starting points you could build a lesson
like this on:
- What low carb foods should I be sure to include in my diet if I think
I'm deficient in vitamin B6?
- What categories can I create to organize the extrasolar planets discovered
- How are movies produced in the 70s different from those produced this
- What background does it take to get elected mayor in a small US city?
- How has the concept of jealousy been described in great literature?
- What Asian animals could I put in a petting zoo?
- How is the color red used in flags?
- What's the relationship between dominant religion and literacy rate
in developing countries?
You may choose to develop your lesson around a database that you create
from scratch, or an existing one from this list
or elsewhere. Use this template to organize
your lesson as a web page to be read by students.
In either case, your lesson will include these sections:
- Introduction: A presentation of the problem to be
solved, the question to be answered, the decision to be made, or the
issue to be studied.
- Acquaint. A preliminary look at the data. Use this
to familiarize learners with the information in the database as well
as the mechanical aspects of searching through it.
- Ask: Pursuing a list of questions to be answered
by looking through the data. You can provide a starter set of questions
and encourage learners to add their own to it (depending on their readiness
- Arrange: It's not enough to generate answers from
the data. Learners should be able to explain what it means. Organize
the data by clumping it into categories and/or sorting it by some criterion
to help you address the initial question, issue or problem.
- Apply: Ask learners to take what they've learned
and apply it to what was described in the introduction.
- Evaluation: Though this is a short lesson, it's useful
to include a checklist to help learners determine how well they did.
This may be used for a grade or merely as a self-check.
The central four stages can be remembered by thinking of this as a FORAY
into the infosphere.
counts for 15% of your final grade. Use this
checklist to evaluate your work.
Here are projects from the past: Spring
2004 | Fall
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