Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plan

Title: And the Planet Isˇˇ

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Science: (Gr. 6) 3.3, 5.2; 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 3.2.3: Use a prepared solar system database to search for planets with moons and with oxygen.

Materials Needed: Pre-activity: Prepared database file of solar system. 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 file of solar system; media center or class material; index cards labeled with search criteria, connectors, relationship phrases, and the words "no connector." (Database--Planets)

Time: One class session.

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




Teacher Preparation

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

Teacher Preparation with Media Professional

  • 1. Locate the media center resources that contain the information needed for the database fields.
  • 2. Plan for the students to use the resources in the media center or in the classroom.

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 relationships 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 objects 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. Assign each student to research information on each planet using 4 of the fields in the prepared database: number of moons, amount of gravitational pull, type of atmosphere, and distance from sun. Provide time in the media center or with classroom materials to locate the information.
         No. of Moons
         Amount of Gravity
         Distance from Sun
  • 2. As a class, discuss the search connectors of "and" and "or."
  • 3. Ask students what the two criteria are in the statements: Which planets have gravitational pull and moons? Which planets have an atmosphere and their year is greater than 5 Earth years?
  • 4. Divide the class into two groups: the computer database searchers to use the prepared database on the solar system and the paper database searchers to use the completed form from their assignment in step #1.
  • 5. Place 3 containers on the table. Label one "Criteria," one "Relationship," and one "Connector."
  • 6. Place in the Criteria container an index card labeled with each of the 4 criteria of the solar system that were researched in step #1. Place a set of 15 "search connector" cards--five with the connector "and," five with the connector "or," five with the phrase "no connector"--in the Connector container. In the Relationship container, place two cards for each of the relationship phrases: equal to, not equal to, greater than and less than.
  • 7. Select one card from the Connector container, one card from the Criteria container, and one from the Relationship container. If the connector card "and" or the card "or" is drawn, select a second criterion card.
  • 8. Have the two groups search their respective databases according to the cards drawn and report their finds.
  • 9. Ask the two groups to compare their results. Discuss any differences in searching by computer and in searching using information on paper. Replace all cards after each draw.


(Pair students to test their database searching skills.) Given a prepared database of the solar system and a stack of cards or a cube marked "and," "or," or "no connector," draw a card (or roll the cube) to determine the type of search to complete for planets with more than one moon; use planets with oxygen if a second criterion is needed. Record your search criteria, connector, and resulting data.