Spider Searching

scissor searchYesterday we started our new computing unit of work. The children were quite puzzled when I told them that we were doing computing but wouldn’t be using any computers. We were looking at how search engines such as google carry out their work and used the planning provided by Phil Bagge on the cas website¬†http://code-it.co.uk/netintsearch.html

I began the lesson with a short video about search engines to get them thinking

I asked them what they thought that the most important thing that they had learned from the video was and they all said that it was about making your search specific and we discussed what that actually meant. Then we carried out the Spider search activity where they had to hunt for and locate all the pairs of scissors in the classroom. They were very thorough and even found a pair that I didn’t know that we had!

Logging all the pairs of scissors
Logging all the pairs of scissors

As an extension activity for those who finished quickly i asked them to think of another classroom item that they could search for and this led to some really good discussions between the children that linked directly with what they had taken from the video. Some of them decided to search for specific items such as rulers or rubbers however one pair of boys decided that they were going to search for books.

They both took a look around the classroom and decided that searching for books wasn’t going to be practical. A very animated (or even argumentative) discussion then took place about how they could change their ideas. Eventually they agreed that they would search for reading books which would narrow down their list a bit. After a few minutes,, they very quickly decided that even reading books was too wide a criteria to use. This time they were able to come to an amicable agreement that they would search for Wimpy Kid reading books and proceeded to do that.

When we discussed the findings about the scissors and compared this to how a search engine actually works, I told the rest of the class about the discussions that the pair of boys had taken. It was clear to the rest of the children that what the two boys had done was exactly what we need to do when we search online. They all agreed that they now have a much better idea of how a search engine works but also how they can make their own web searches more effective. We looked at common searches on google and saw how refining the search very quickly reduces the number of results but makes those results more useful.

Thank you Phil for a really accessible way of introducing this part of the curriculum even if we did go off task slightly!