Database as an educational tool by Cindy
One challenge in integrating technology into the classroom is
having a vision of, "What can this do for my students?".
I've shown you
several ways to use database to manage your classroom and
professional life. Here is a super way to get your students using
database. Today, I downloaded a set of education database templates made in
ClarisWorks. There was a class database (demographic data) and a library book managing
One file, in particular, caught my eye. It was called Insect
Nanette Luoma created a super database for her
students to use. She has the students enter the basic facts of their
work into a class database as part of the project. There are fourteen
fields of data requested which include straight forward items like
insect group and wings, to habitat and interaction with people.
There were additional layouts in the database which offered
research worksheets, information source sheets, and a glossary of
Once the database is filled with information students could
compute data based on numeric information or Sort for fields like: winged as adults.
Okay, Cindy, this is nice but I don't
do insects. Here are some ideas right off the tip of my fingers.
Famous People of your state - biography
Famous Artists or Writers - biography
Habitats or Biomes
Elements of the Periodic Table
Countries of the world report
Organs and/or body parts
US State facts report
Animals of the rain forest
Native American tribes
Inventors or Inventions
Vocabulary words - class dictionary
Creative writing done in class.
Books I've read this school year
You already give the assignment expectations in a database like
Heroes : Date of Birth, place of birth, gender,
education, trials and tough times, successes, what are they famous
for doing, date of the report and author.
State facts: Capitol, size, State symbols (tree, bird, flower),
Governor, population, 2 famous people from that state, resources, and
outstanding geographic features.
To bring the database into the project, all you need to do is create a database with a field for each
fact you expect the students to give. Sometimes it will be to your
advantage to have a pop-up menu for younger
students to enter information like endangered vrs non endangered.
Have the students use the Find feature to
retrieve their record when they return to enter more data.
Every student will benefit from the
experience of entering into a database.
- They'll learn database navigation
- They'll be exposed to ways of organizing data
- They'll gain a basic understanding of what a database can do.
- Show them how to Sort
- Use a formula to find the
occurrence of a single piece of data in the whole database.
(How many states have the Cardinal for the state bird? How many
heroes are women?)
Another Integration idea is to provide
Word of the day or vocabulary -
Doing a vocabulary building activity? Have the
students enter the words, parts of speech, definitions and example
sentences in a database. At the end of the year they can use Save
As to change the database to dif format. Then let them
take it home for future use. Most database programs can open a dif
formatted file. At the end of the unit or year, they can marvel at all the new words they know.
Use the database to build a multimedia game for the class to engage for reviewing a unit, reinforcing key concepts or in the last week of school.
Post it online game version | Templates | PowerPoint Educational Game Links | MYO How To
Class Creative writing - Create fields for: Title, author, date of
writing, kind of writing (expository, poetry, biography, essay, short
story), and fiction vrs nonfiction (pop-up menu!). Make a special added layout within the database which reports a
student's individual writing for the year.
- Use Find to isolate a single student
from the whole class database.
- Switch to the teacher entry layout to add their grades for the
assignments. (At the bottom of the Layout
- Switch to the special student report layout and print a list of their
writing work for the year. It could be very handy at your next
parent/teacher conference! It might even be a meaningful addition
to a portfolio or report card. It certainly would be an
interesting end of the class gift to your student.
- Use the database in a teacher layout that includes grades to review the writing units for the year. Which were most effective? Are you covering each form of writing adequately? Are the lessons aligned to the standards? Have you covered all the standards?
Reading database! Have your students enter each
book they read this school year. Have them rate the book. Document the reading enrichment the students elected to do.
- Use Find to isolate a single student from the whole class
- Switch to the annual report layout to print an individual
student's report. It includes a summary
field of the number of pages the student has read.
- Sort by author. Write as fractions the number of students
who read a single author or book. Or use the data to make charts/graphs. Discuss with the class their
- Have a reading race. Who has read the most books? Pages?
- Review each student's progress with them through the year. Gove them the BIG picture of their reading.
Simply delightful survey:
I utilized a database to conduct a survey for favorite
book with several hundred students. In addition to the winner, I was
able to show: the boy's favorite, the girl's favorite, the favorite
by grade and even by specific class. I exported the collected data
into a spreadsheet. I then made bar graphs and pie
charts for student consideration.
Graduation Projects and database perfect together!
Here are some
more ideas and lesson plans which present or use databases from the
North Carolina Public Schools.
He who really wants to do something, finds a way.
He who doesn't; finds an excuse. S Ross
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©1998 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. Posted 5/25/1998
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