Search Challenges are an effective way make searchers and consumers of information aware that there is more to searching than they know. Search engines like Google are useful for people who perform easy searches. But when the search becomes difficult, the searcher needs to know how to search strategically and use the right techniques for the right job.
The Challenges in this collection are intended for individual or group use to raise awareness and encourage intelligent searching: knowing what to look for, where to look for it, how to get there, whether the information is good or not and how to treat it ethically once found.
These activities may be used for self-paced instruction or group work in an academic setting. There is no particular order to the Challenges, although there are three levels of difficulty. The Elementary Challenges are best for beginning searchers (no matter what grade level). Intermediate Challenges build on the fundamental skills and add more complexity. Advanced Challenges pose difficult problems and require persistence as well as choosing the appropriate strategy and or techniques. A recommended sequence is to begin in grades K-5, building more complexity as language and work skills develop and mature through middle and high school. High schoolers should be able to perform Advanced Challenges in preparation for college research.
Educators are strongly encouraged to engage in conversations with their peers at other levels of schooling, asking question: "What do you wish my students could do before they come to your school?"
Some activities are timed, to simulate the amount of time it should require to complete a task successfully. Others are left open--in case having a clock ticking away causes anxiety. Not finishing a task in the recommended time is not a problem: just click OK and continue to search.
Each activity, whether it uses the Internet or not, provides feedback on the answers submitted to help searchers learn from mistakes.