Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: European Elevation Sort

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Social Studies: (Gr. 6) 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 9.1; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 2.2, (Gr. 6) 2.3; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 6
Competency 3.1: Use a database to sort records.

Measure 3.1.1: Given a prepared database of European countries, sort the countries in ascending order by elevation and identify the five countries with the highest elevations.

Materials Needed: Pre-activity: Index card per student. Activity: Prepared database, resources on current European countries, map of European countries, red/orange/brown markers. (Database--Europe)

Time: One class session with pre-activities.

Terms: Database, File, Record, Field, Sort




Teacher Preparation

  • 1. Review the European countries and the database fields listed in the prepared database.
  • 2. Practice sorting each field.

Teacher Preparation with Media Professional

  • 1. Locate the media center or class resources which contain geographical information on the current countries of Europe. Specifically: maps, atlases, and almanacs which contain data on area, highest point, and boundaries of seas and oceans. Other characteristics needed for each country are population and major/official language.
  • 2. Locate the most current map of Europe showing as many countries as possible that are listed in the prepared database file.

With the Students

  • 1. Discuss the process of sorting: arranging information in alphabetical order from A to Z or Z to A or in numerical order from largest to smallest (9 to 0) or smallest to largest (0 to 9).
  • 2. Provide an index card for each student to print their last name on one side and their height in inches on the other side.
  • 3. Divide the class into two groups. Have each group select two students as "sorters" for their group.
  • 4. With each group lined up randomly along opposing walls of the classroom, instruct the students to hold their cards to show their height and the "sorters" to be ready to numerically sort their group from tallest to shortest.
  • 5. Give the signal for the "sorters" to begin the sorting. When each group has completed, acknowledge the group who finished first and check each team's arrangement.
  • 6. Now, have the two groups sort themselves together to complete a sort of the entire class from tallest to shortest.
  • 7. For further understanding of database sorting, repeat the activity to sort the students alphabeticaly by last name from Z to A.

Non-computer Activity:

  • 1. Have the students participate in a Think-Pair-Share activity. Given a map of European counries, each student thinks indivdually, then collaborates with a partner to research in collected resources to shade the three countries with the largest area. (Largest in red, the next largest in orange, and the third in brown.) The pairs, then, share their maps with the rest of the class.
  • 2. After students examine the maps, discuss questions such as
    	   Is there class agreement on the largest countries?
    	   Which countries were definitely not the largest?
    	   What are the five European countries with the greatest areas?
  • 3. List on the board or overhead the first five countries the class thinks have the largest areas.

Computer Activity:

  • 1. As a class, review the contents of the prepared database on European countries and the database field names.
  • 2. Demonstrate the sort operation of your database by sorting the countries
    	   alphabetically by name.
    	   from smallest area to largest area.
    	   from largest population to smallest population.
  • 3. Now sort the field for area from largest to smallest area.
  • 4. Compare the top five countries located with this computer sort to those the class selected in the Think-Pair-Share non-computer activity. Discuss any differences in the two lists.


With a prepared database file of European countries loaded into a computer, open the file and sort the countries to identify the five countries with the highest elevation. Extra: Determine if any of the five largest countries in square miles also have one of the top five elevation points. (Possible action: Two sorts with a comparison of the two lists.)