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How to Use This Kit

About this Kit | Using the Resources in this Kit | Creating Units

Starting the Search Process

How to integrate Resource Kit activities into exisiting lessons

About this Kit

Searching online is a lot like searching for information in books. The same three choices many books provide--Table of Contents, Index and the pages in between--are also the choices for searching the Internet. Using an index, for example, is usually a much quicker way to find relevant information than paging through the book--unless you already know what page you need. The same holds true on the Internet: a search engine is a much more efficient way to find information unless you already have a URL in mind.

Becoming fluent using 21st Century information skills depends on making good choices regarding initial search strategies. Those choices are based on what a person already knows.

An effective search requires answering some key questions before searching. To start with, "what information am I looking for?" is critically important. Search choices are different if the answer to that question is vague. In knowing what you are looking for you should be as clear as possible: grasping the important concepts or ideas to search for and using carefully chosen keywords to get there. The other big question, "Where am I going to look?" affects the choice of search tools. In fact, the Internet may not even be the best place to look.

This Kit contains articles and activities to start a search on the right path. Topics include:

Understanding the purpose of the search
Identifying best search choices based on information already known
Understanding the difference between searching and browsing
Browsing information archived in a subject directory
Searching the Deep Web

Using the Resources in this Kit

Resources suited for stand-alone applications

This Kit currently has limited self-guided applications suitable for students. However, the contents of articles may be adapted by the instructor for classroom or library use.


Searching: Live or Archived (Teacher-facilitated) -- Solving time-travel related problems that result from searching databases and browsing live.

Question and Answer: Searching vs Browsing (Teacher-facilitated) -- The next time you search, use the Flowchart found at the end of this article to determine which method of searching may be best to start with.

Speculative and Investigative Searching (Teacher-facilitated) -- When starting a new search, determine whether it is a speculative search or an investigative search. The methods used will be different.

Timed Search Challenges

Action Zone: Kermit the Frog Challenge -- Start a search with only a picture to find the rest of the information.
Action Zone: Transformer Challenge -- Despite its inclusion in the "Getting Started" Kit, this is not a challenge for novices. This moderately difficult, multi-step challenge requires developing a strategy that starts out as a speculative search and ends by becoming an investigative search.

Resources suited for sequences

When time permits more than one activity, combine activities into sequences for more powerful effects.

The Internet Challenge Model

Challenge Tutorial Challenge
1. Start with the Kermit Challenge to encourage awareness of needing a strategy for finding information when all you have to start with is a picture. 2. Follow this by presenting information from the Question and Answer: Searching vs. Browsing article.

3. Use the flow chart at the end of the article to engage students in making decisions based on what they know. The flow chart may be used with the Optical Illusion Challenge as a group problem-solving experience: What's the best way to approach this search, knowing what we already know?

4. Don't reveal the answer to the challenge question if you plan to have students try the following individual activity. Another curricular resource, found in the Database Kit > Searching the Cache: Three Choices provides relevant activities to reinforce making smart strategic choices.

5. Conclude with the Optical Illusion Challenge to allow students an opportunity to apply search strategies to a multi-step problem.