Int. Education

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade Search Lesson

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In this lesson plan the idea will be to introduce students to Google and the search syntax ‘AND’. It will also begin the discussion about where ads appear on a Google Search result as well as other websites. At this age, every time I show a web page I take a couple minutes to have the students point out where the ads are on the page. This helps them to get a visual representation of how the web page is layed out and where to click and not to click to get to the information they want.

I encourage you to do the searches ahead of time so you are familiar with the results that will show and where the ads will show in the search results.

Set Up: Have students join you on the floor in front of the projected display of Google.comon the wall.Teacher Cheat: Before beginning, especially with younger students I encourage you to go into the Advance Search settings at the bottom of any Google Search results page and turn on Reading Level to “Basic Results”. This way when you start doing your search with students you’ll automatically be getting results that are more at their level.
Prime The Pump:Ask questions to gauge students understanding of Google.

  • How many of you know this website?
  • How many of you have used this website?
  • What is this website used for?
  • How can this website help us?
  • Where do you think we click on this website to begin using it?

The purpose here is to learn how many students have been exposed to Google before and whether they can identify where to click to begin a search.

Our First Search:Choose a topic that you are learning about now or take a topic from the crowd. Animals are always fun to start with, so in this case I’ll be using Penguins.

  • If I wanted to find out what Penguins eat what would I do?
    • Have students give you answers until some suggest typing Penguins into the search box.
  • Next look over the results page as a class.
    • What do you notice about our results?
    • What do you find interesting?
    • What are you wondering about?
  • Ads on Search Results pages
    • Explain to students that companies put ads on web pages the same way they put ads on cartoons and on the big signs along the roads.
      • Why do you think companies use ads? (Have a discussion about ads)
    • Explain that web pages have ads too and that they are not always easy to spot or find.
      • Can you find the ads on this page?
      • How do you know those are ads?
      • What hints does Google give us to tell us those are ads?
      • What do you think we should do now that we know the ads are there?
  • Refining your search
    • After doing the search for Penguins scroll through the page looking at the results and discuss with students that there is a lot of information here on all kinds of penguins and what they do.
      • What do we really want to know about Penguins? (What they eat)
      • Explain to student that by using the word AND we can refine our search for web pages that talk only about Penguins AND what they eat
        • The words “what they” we really do not want so have a discussion with the students about eliminating these words until our search is Penguins AND Eat
        • At this point you should be able to identify a web page that gives you the information you are looking for.

This lesson can be used all year long to help reinforce the idea of “deep searching” and refining a search result. In my primary classroom, this same lesson would be done at least once a week throughout the school year. It could be used to introduce a new unit or topic, it could be used when a student asks a question, or just as a transition activity if a student has had a question they want to know the answer to.

Identifying Ads on a Web Page

This is a critical skill for this age group and in my classroom, I would take a moment every time we were on a web page to “find the ads”. Even great kid sites like National Geographic for Kids are full of ads. Learning where ads are helps us be more productive and in the long run will help keep students focused on the task at hand.

Screenshot of the search results for penguins on my computer. Your search results may differ but take time to talk about different aspects of the search results page. In these results I did not get any ads but I did get the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team website as well as the game Club Penguin. These are not the results we’re looking for. The last result here might have the information we need but we’ll have to search the entire page to find it. It will be easier to narrow our search from the start.

This is a screenshot of the search Penguins AND eating. Notice we get our answer in three different ways and because I’ve turned on the Reading Level to Basic I know that these results are going to be more age appropriate vs the Wikipedia entry that came up in our first search. You can read about what they eat, you can see what they eat, and you can watch a video about what they eat. Information comes in many forms….another great conversation!

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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Thanks for this. I did not realize that boolean search gave same results for ‘AND’ and ‘and’ now in Google. I will probably modify this slightly and use it soon and return with feedback.

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  3. Carla Saunders Reply

    Hi Jeff

    I came across this in my Feedly this morning and it is just what I am looking for ! We are putting together a basic Digi Literacy Kit for a group of schools in a community and the availability of K-2 material that students can access due to our web filtering is minimum . This would make a great example for teachers as a model approach to teaching search. Thank you

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  8. Leslie Hesterman Reply

    Thank you so much! I am a teacher librarian and your lesson plans and ideas are just what I need!

  9. Linc Jackson Reply

    I was at a workshop long ago when computers and word processing were just beginning and web based research did not exist. I was at a workshop on social studies and research and the workshop presenter said something that really stuck out for me. If a student researches something and reports on it, that report has probably been done hundreds of times before. It is unlikely to be anything new about it. He asked us why we don’t ask the kids to generate something that has never been written before. Something completely unique. My next assignment for my fifth graders was to write a report that compared the environment found in their backyard to the environment of a location somewhere in a Latin American country of their choice.

    It turned out to be a great assignment. The kids jumped all over it and were really engaged. They felt like they owned that topic. It was interesting to read what they had written too. The is not always the case with your basic Grade 5 report.

    I am currently in the role of a technology integrator and I wonder if I can suggest this strategy to my teachers? Would anybody understand my point?

  10. Jeff,
    You came today to my school district, Marysville, WA and did a presentation which I found interesting, engaging and full of information. I am hopeful our school district will be able to implement many of the ideas you presented today. Keep doing what you doing!! Great job.
    Thank you,
    Debra H.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Thanks Debra,

      Glad you found my time with you and at your school worth wild. I’m excited for your district…and look forward to hopefully working with you all moving forward.

      Have a great year!

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