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Please pardon our progress while we refine the look and functionality of our new ALEX site! You can still access the old ALEX site at alex.asc.edu. If you would like to share feedback or have a question for the ALEX Team, you can use the contact form here, or email us directly at administrator@alex.state.al.us.

What Is a Database?: Introduction to Alabama Virtual Library

Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Grade(s)

9, 10, 11, 12

Overview

Before students begin to search Alabama Virtual Library databases for both scholarly and popular sources, students need to know what a database is. In this activity, students will learn the definition of database and the characteristics of this type of search tool. They will also access Alabama Virtual Library to see the variety of databases within this free state resource.

Phase

Before/Engage
English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 9

ELA21.9.22

Use a variety of search tools and research strategies.

UP:ELA21.9.22

Vocabulary

  • Search tools
  • Research strategies

Knowledge

Students know:
  • Methods to use search tools, such as library databases and search engines.
  • Research strategies, such as keyword search and boolean search.

Skills

Students are able to:
  • Use various search tools and research strategies.

Understanding

Students understand that:
  • There are multiple strategies and tools to use when researching a topic.
English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 10

ELA21.10.22

Use a variety of search tools and research strategies to locate credible sources.

UP:ELA21.10.22

Vocabulary

  • Search tools
  • Research strategies
  • Credible sources

Knowledge

Students know:
  • Methods to use search tools, such as library databases and search engines.
  • Research strategies, such as keyword search and boolean search.
  • Strategies to locate credible information that is accurate and reliable.

Skills

Students are able to:
  • Use various search tools and research strategies to find credible information.

Understanding

Students understand that:
  • There are multiple strategies and tools to use when researching a topic.
English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 11

ELA21.11.25

Use a variety of search tools and research strategies to locate credible sources.

UP:ELA21.11.25

Vocabulary

  • Search tools
  • Research strategies
  • Credible sources

Knowledge

Students know:
  • Methods to use search tools, such as library databases and search engines.
  • Research strategies, such as keyword search and boolean search.
  • Strategies to locate credible information that is accurate and reliable.

Skills

Students are able to:
  • Use various search tools and research strategies to find credible information.

Understanding

Students understand that:
  • There are multiple strategies and tools to use when researching a topic.
English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 12

ELA21.12.25

Use a variety of search tools and research strategies to locate and acquire credible, relevant, and useful information.

UP:ELA21.12.25

Vocabulary

  • Search tools
  • Research strategies
  • Credible sources
  • Relevant sources

Knowledge

Students know:
  • Methods to use search tools, such as library databases and search engines.
  • Research strategies, such as keyword search and boolean search.
  • Strategies to locate credible, relevant, useful information that is accurate and reliable.

Skills

Students are able to:
  • Use various search tools and research strategies to find credible, relevant, and useful information.

Understanding

Students understand that:
  • There are multiple strategies and tools to use when researching a topic.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to define “database” and explain the characteristics of a library database.
  • Students will select an appropriate library database to use for personal exploration or a school project. 

Activity Details

1. The teacher will activate prior knowledge by asking students if they know what a database is.  They may know that it is a place where information is stored. 

2. The teacher will tell the students that a research database is an alternative to finding information on the internet.

3. The teacher will show the Canva slides presentation “What is a Database?” which defines the term “database” and gives four reasons why students may use a database instead of an internet search.  

4. The teacher will pause at slide #7. Slides 7-10 include four True/False questions. Teachers may assess students’ understanding of databases through thumbs up / thumbs down or by having students write their answers and submit their answers for review.  Slide 11 provides answers to the true/false questions. 

5. The final slide, slide 12, directs students to Alabama Virtual Library.   

6. Students will open Alabama Virtual Library, click the yellow “High School” button, and look at the icons for the available databases. 

7. The teacher will ask students, “After looking at the icons representing the databases available on AVL, turn to a neighbor and indicate which two databases may be most useful to you for personal exploration or a school project.”

8. Students turn and talk, sharing databases that pique their interest. 

Assessment Strategies

The slide show includes four True/False questions. Teachers may assess students’ understanding of library databases through thumbs up / thumbs down or by having students write their answers and submit their answers for review. 

The teacher will evaluate each student’s oral response to determine if each student was able to select at least two appropriate library databases for personal exploration and/or school research.

Acceleration

Students already familiar with Alabama Virtual Library or other research databases may write a short paragraph or a list of talking points to share with classmates. 

Intervention

  • Students who need reinforcement may be given a copy of the slide presentation to use when answering the true/false questions. 
  • Students who need help navigating AVL may be paired with a student who may already be more familiar with it.

Background / Preparation

Teacher Preparation:

The teacher will need to secure technology access for the teacher and students. The teacher should preview the slideshow and Alabama Virtual Library and be prepared to answer student questions. The teacher will also need to decide how to assess students (thumbs up/thumbs down, written responses, etc.)

Student Preparation:

Students should have a digital device with internet access.

Total Duration

0 to 15 Minutes

Materials and Resources

Materials: 

  1. What is a Database? Canva Slides Presentation
  2. Link to Alabama Virtual Library
  3. Interactive Whiteboard or Projector and Screen
  4. Digital devices for students. 
  5. Internet access for teachers and students.
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