Showing posts with label research lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label research lessons. Show all posts

Friday, July 17, 2020

An Update to an Old Web Quest Assignment

I've been doing a lot of reading this summer. Some of the books that I've been reading this summer are books that I've read in the past but am revisiting because I've always found that I pick up new things the second or third time through. Two of those books that I've revisited this summer are Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager and Empowering Online Learning by Curtis Bonk and Ke Zhang. The combination has sparked some new ideas (perhaps re-ignited) for me about how to structure prompts for students.

Early in Empowering Online Learning Bonk and Zhang write about conducting a web quest or online scavenger hunt activity. They were writing in 2007/2008 when web quests were still a relatively new activity to many teachers who were trying to help students develop search skills. The example that Bonk and Zhang gave was essentially a list of questions for students to answer with the help of a search engine.

As I re-read the web quest activity outlined by Bonk and Zhang I remembered Stager's refrain of "a good prompt is worth a thousand words." Combining those two elements I came up with an update to an old search lesson activity that I used to do with some of my high school students.

The old search activity that I used to do with students was to have them pick a popular stock from the NYSE or NASDAQ and then find and evaluate buy/ sell/ hold articles they found about those stocks. The updated version of that lesson is to have students look up ten data points (for example: volume, short interest, cash flow, EPS) about a stock like AAPL (Apple) and then research ten ways that a professional analyst would use those data points to create a buy/ sell/ hold rating.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Two Image-based Search Challenges to Use With Your Students

One of my favorite ways to reinforce the use of good search strategies to students is to show interesting pictures and have students try to make a long list of questions about what they see. Then I let the students try to find the answers to those questions. When they get stuck, I intervene to remind them of one of the search strategies that they have been taught. The other method that I use is to give students a bit of an image-based riddle to solve through the use of the search strategies that they have learned. Outlines of both types of challenges are included below. (Feel free to use the images, just give me credit for them).

Challenge #1 - The Big Truck!
I like to use this one with elementary school and middle school students. I display the following picture in the front of the room then ask students to ask any questions that they have about it. A lot of students will ask things like, “is that real,” “how big is it,” and “can I drive it?” All of those questions above can be answered by using various search strategies and tools. Using the "similar images search" in Google Images will help you answer these questions. Google Maps Street View will help you answer the questions too. And while not essential to answering the questions, refining your search to a specific top-level domain could help too.



Challenge #2 - The Camel!
This is a challenge for middle school, high school, and college students. It involves a bit of geography, geology, and folklore.

Step 1: Take a look at the following pictures.





2. Find the camel in the second picture. (Hint: it’s the outline of a camel you’re looking for, not an actual camel).
3. The search challenge is to find out which mythological person rode that camel.
4. Identify the connections between the camel and the shoe.
5. Explain how the camel in the picture was actually formed.

The Explanation of the Camel Challenge
1. The camel is outlined in the picture below.



2. Students need to think about mythology beyond the usual Greek mythology that they tend to default to. The picture should give students a clue or two that this "camel" isn't in a typical environment for a myth or folklore involving a camel. They should rule out stories that center on a camel in a desert environment. Eliminating those stories will narrow the list of possibilities.

The camel is actually at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

3. Once students figure out where the camel is located, they should be able to discover that the camel is part of the story of Finn McCool (also written as Fionn MacCoul or Fionn mac Cumhaill).

4. The shoe is representative of Finn McCool's shoe that, according to the folklore, he lost while fleeing from the wrath of Scottish giant, Benandonner.

5. The camel is actually a basaltic dyke.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Looking for Errors - A Lesson in Website Accuracy

In Saturday's week-in-review I mentioned that NBC's webpage about Olympic archery contains quite a few errors. I've been thinking about that a lot as I've watched the Olympic archery matches this week. Last night, it occurred to me that NBC probably has other niche sports pages containing errors. My guess is that we all have students who are into one or more of those niche sports. Likewise, we all have students who may have hobbies they're passionate about, but we don't know much about ourselves. For example, six years ago I had a student who was quite passionate about making raising bees, I couldn't have told you the first thing about raising bees.

Thinking about niche sports and hobbies prompted me to think about how I might leverage students' interests into a lesson about web research. One way to do this is to ask students to find a webpage, perhaps on Wikipedia or elsewhere, about their favorite niche hobbies or sports. Once they've found a page or two ask them to try to develop a list of errors they find on the page. Then ask them to try to locate three references that confirm the errors they found on the original page.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Favorite Internet Search Tips for Teachers & Students

Whether you teach students who are ten years old or forty years old there will be times when they turn to you and say, "I can't find anything about this" while they are researching. In most cases the problem isn't that the Internet doesn't hold any information for them. Rather, the problem is that students don't know enough strategies to help them dive deeper in their Internet research. In the slides embedded below I share my favorite search tips. The slides include some videos that demonstrate how to use the methods I've mentioned.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spark Your Students' Imaginations With Wonderopolis

Wonderopolis is a fantastic site that I learned about through Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's current series of blog posts about embedding visuals into teaching and learning. Wonderopolis currently offers nearly 900 "wonder" prompts. The prompts cover topics in science, social studies, mathematics, and language arts. Each of the prompts includes a short article, a video, an image or two, and links to additional readings. Learn more about Wonderopolis in the video below.


Wonderopolis from NCFL on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Wonderopolis could be a great resource to prompt a research lesson or discussion in your classroom. You could include Wonderopolis in a lesson on web research by asking students to pick one of the "wonders" to research in more depth.

Wonderopolis offers an option for teachers and students to submit a "wonder" of their own. You could have your students work together to create a wonder to submit to Wonderopolis. Ask them to create a wonder about something unique to where they live. Perhaps a unique plant, historical landmark, or geographic feature could be the focus of their wonders.

You can put Wonderopolis on your school or classroom blog by using the Wonderopolis daily wonder widget.