Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: Land or Sea?

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) 3.2; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 6
Competency 3.2: Use a database to search for desired information, given one criterion and given two criteria (using "and" or "or" connectors where necessary).

Measure 3.2.2: Choose a connector and search a prepared database of European countries to locate which countries border the Mediterranean Sea or are landlocked.

Materials Needed: Pre-activity: Prepared database file of European countries. Activities: 3 jars or see-through containers; 3 sets of colored objects (plastic eggs, candy, blocks, etc.) such that the third set is a combination of the other 2 colors; prepared database of European countries; map of current countries of Europe, signs labeled each with a different European country. (Database--Europe)

Time: One class session.

Terms: File, Record, Field, Search, And, Or




Teacher Preparation

  • 1. Review the fields of the prepared database file on European countries.
  • 2. Practice searching each field using different relationships of equal to, greater than, less than, etc.
  • 2. Study the difference in the connectors "and" and "or."
  • 3. Collect the necessary supplies for the non-computer activity.

Non-computer Activity:

  • 1. Define the database function search: a process of selecting all database records that satisfy a statement, rule, or criterion.
  • 2. Ask the students to stand beside their seat if they satisfy the criterion you call out (e.g., rode a bus to school that morning, have brown eyes, have a sister, brought their lunch today). Identify this search relationship as "equal to." Discuss other relationshps provided as selection choices by your database program.
  • 3. Introduce the concept of selecting records using the connector "or": all records that satisfy either one criterion or both criteria. Use three see-through containers. Fill one with one color of object and a second with objects of another color. Mix some of the third set (ones with a combination of the 2 colors) into each container. (Object examples: orange candy, white candy, orange/white candy corn.)
  • 4. Place the third container labeled "or" between the other two containers.
  • 5. Ask students to decide what objects should go in the "or" container if it is the collection of all objects satisfying one container or the other. (Answer: all objects.)
  • 6. Introduce the concept of selecting records using the connector "and": all records that satisfy both criteria. Use the same three see-through containers of step 3 but label the third container "and."
  • 7. Ask the students to decide what objects should go in the "and" container if it is the collection of all objects satisfying both containers. (Answer: only the objects with both colors.)

Computer Activity:

  • 1. After students review the location of the countries of Europe using a current map, have the students identify those countries that are landlocked, those that border the Atlantic Ocean, those that border the Mediterranean Sea, and those that border another body of water.
  • 2. Assign each European country to one student, providing each student with a sign with the country's name.
  • 3. Ask the remaining students to search a prepared database of European countries to identify the countries satisfying each criterion of step 1. As countries are selected in one of the searches, have the students representing those countries group together at the front of the room with a sign for that criterion. If a country belongs to more than one group, have another student represent the country in the second group. (Note: You will need additional signs for some countries.)
  • 4. Divide the remaining students into two groups: one to operate the computer database and one to arrange the student database.
  • 5. Have the computer database team search the database using the connector "and" with pairs of the the four criteria: landlocked, border the Atlantic Ocean, border the Mediterranean Sea, and border another body of water. As each selection based on two criteria is made, have the student database team direct the movement of the students representing the countries to a new group area. Record on the board or overhead the name of the countries satisfying the selection. After each search, the students should return to their original group.
  • 6. Repeat the process using the connector "or."
  • 7. Lead the class in discussing the difference in the results of using the connectors "and" and "or."


Using a prepared database file of European countries loaded into a computer, select all records of countries that are landlocked or that border the Mediterranean Sea. Identify the connector used and explain how the selection process would have been different with the other possible connector.