Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan
Title: Track Meet Activity
Competency 2.5: Describe the difference between a print database and a computer
Measure 2.4.2: After a demonstration and discussion of print and computer
databases, identify the advantages of each.
Materials Needed: Pre-activity: typical class objects. Activity: both a print
and computer database version of a dictionary, encyclopedia, automated card catalog, or
special topic (Examples: books on dinosaurs and a database on dinosaurs; materials on NC
history and a database of NC history). Copies of the Database Track Meet Activity for each
group; Database Track Meet display (bulletin board, poster or felt board, overhead
Time: One class session.
Terms: Database, Print Database, Computer Database
With the Students
- 1. Discuss the concept of a database as a collection of items and review examples from
the lesson for Measure 2.4.1. (Examples: the class is a collection of students, the
classroom is a collection of desks and chairs, the class file cabinet or bookcase is a
collection of papers or books, the teacherís gradebook is a collection of student names
and grades. Items such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, newspaper, and card catalog can be
both print and computer databases.)
- 2. Initiate a discussion of whether print or computer databases are "better."
Direct the discussion to the idea that there are advantages to both types.
With the Media Professional
- 1. Review the pre-activities for the students.
- 2. Discuss the activity to be conducted in the media center for the students to explore
the advantages of both print and computer databases.
- 3. Practice the Database Track Meet Activity.
- 1. (In the media center with the Media Professional) With both a print and a computer
database format of a collection such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, card catalog or
special topic on a table in the media center, review the concept that each is a collection
- 2. Show the students how to look up, in each resource, a topic they select. Have two
students practice finding a second topic in each resource. For example: Use both a print
and a CD-ROM encyclopedia to look up the topics: snakes, Columbus, hurricanes.
- 3. Ask the students what they think was "best" about the print database and
about the computer database. Discuss their ideas.
- 4. Introduce the students to the Database Track Meet Activity: the track meet consists
of different events in which the winner is the contestant with the most advantages. The
contestants are the print database and the computer database of one of the resources in
your media center or classroom.
Hold a "final" Track Meet event in which the teacher, using either the print
encyclopedia or the CD-ROM encyclopedia and the media professional using the other format,
look up one topic and record the following: number of pictures, number of other references
given, number of words with pronunciation given, time it takes to find the topic. Have the
students write a short paragraph on the outcome of the "final" event in terms of
which source had the most advantages and what the advantages were.