Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: Database -- USA

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Social Studies: (Gr. 5) 4.2, 11.1; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 2.2, 2.3; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 5
Competency 2.3: Use a prepared database to enter and edit data.

Measure 2.3.1: In class groups, research facts on the United States to enter and edit the findings into a prepared United States database.

Materials Needed: Pre-activity: Classroom examples of a database; prepared database on 50 states of the U.S. Activity: 50 index cards or slips of paper printed with the State B-I-G Card data, variety of resources containing information on the U.S., and prepared database of 50 states (Database--USA).

Time: One class session with pre- and post-activities.

Terms: Database, File, Record, Field, Entering, Editing




Teacher Preparation:

  • 1. Review the pre-activities for the students. If the students will be using the resources in the media center to complete the State B-I-G Card activity, discuss the activity and the possible resources with the media coordinator and plan the time in the media center.
  • 2. Practice entering and editing data in a prepared database on the 50 U.S. states.

With the Students:

  • 1. Discuss the concept of a database and review examples of databases. (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 teacherÝs 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. Discuss the production of a database in terms of a person organizing a collection of information in such a way that the information can be found in a variety of ways; that a person has to type in (enter) the information; that often a person will need to change (edit) some of the information, and that a person needs to be consistent in entering and editing the data in order to be able to find information easily from the database.
  • 3. Use the prepared database for the lesson to show students how to find and open the database file for the lesson, how to enter and edit data, how to move from one field to another as well as from one record to the next, and how to save their work.


Non-computer Portion

  • 1. Divide the class into groups of five students. Give each group five State B-I-G Cards (index cards with state facts relating to size and space to complete the data on the card.) See Figure 1.
                              State B-I-G Card        
         Population Density
         Per Capita Income
         Highest Elevation
                                Figure 1
  • 2. Have the students research the information to complete their cards. They might use their textbooks, an atlas, an almanac, and resources in the media center.
  • 3. After the cards are completed, have the student groups use their cards to identify the terms: database, file, record, field. Suggestion: Use cooperative learning strategies of "Turn to Your Partner" or "Stand and Share."
  • 4. Discuss the types of information that they can obtain from this database (e.g., state with the greatest area, state with the highest elevation)
  • 5. Ask the student groups to arrange the cards from biggest to smallest for
    • a. state area
    • b. highest elevation
    • c. population
  • 6. Have the groups read the names of the states for each grouping. Review the terms record and field as each B-I-G group is discussed.

    Computer Portion

    • 1. Demonstrate how to open the database file, move among records and fields, and enter and edit data in fields.
    • 2. Have the student groups enter the data from their State B-I-G Cards into the corresponding database record. Note: Some of the information for each state will already be entered. Since different reference sources may contain slightly differing information, have the students to edit any fields of given information for which they found other values. In addition to correcting (editing) their typing mistakes, making these changes in data will be additional practice in editing. Remind them to save their work.
    • 3. Have the students combine all of their B-I-G cards into one group. Compare this database of cards to the computer database by asking two pairs of students (one using the B-I-G cards and the other using the computer database) to find the records for the state with the "biggest" ˇˇˇˇ(select fields of your choice).
    • 4. Ask the students to compare the information to make sure the same state was chosen from both databases. Make a sufficient number of comparisons for the students to find the information as easily in the computer database as in the card database. Review the database terms as necessary.


    With a prepared database file loaded into a computer, have the student open the file, find a selected record, enter given data for one field, edit data as directed in another field, and save his work.


    Use the State B-I-G Card database with cards for states not entered by students. Complete (or have the students do so) the missing information on the card. Provide the card to the student, identify which field information is to be entered, and which field information already entered is to be edited per the information on the B-I-G card.