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Research Tools for Young Learners

by Miguel Guhlin
research tools

In a connected world, there are ample research tools available. Helping students learn how to use them grows more important with ubiquitous access. In this blog entry, we explore several online research tools that can facilitate student research.

Setting Up Class Debates

In the Hyperdoc The Great Milk Debate, fifth grade students find themselves facing a challenge: Their principal, Mrs. Hilcher, has banned chocolate milk. Here’s one possible scenario to present students with:

Students: To improve your health, after consulting with school nutritionists, we have decided to no longer allow chocolate milk to be served during breakfast and lunch. Sugar and sweets present one of the greatest threats to human beings ever. “One carton of chocolate milk includes about 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar in a child’s diet,” said Mr. LK.

Students are encouraged to explore both sides of the debate. Learners are tasked with examining:

  • Claim: For example, “Flavored milk gets kids to drink more milk.”
  • Evidence: “Research shows that flavored milk, which delivers nine essential nutrients, contributes just 3% of added sugars to kids’ diets versus sodas and fruit drinks.”
  • Reasoning: “Studies show that school-aged children who drink flavored milk actually drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, and do not have higher intakes of added sugar or total fat.”

The Hyperdoc provides students with a means to discover this information. The teacher who creates the Hyperdoc provides the resources students can explore. It may be advantageous for students to do their own research.

research tools

Five Online Research Tools for Children

  1. KidRex – Powered by Google Custom Search, Alarm.org’s KidRex is a search engine designed by kids for kids. Check our their page for Parents. Compare it to Searchquarium.
  2. KidzSearch – Easy-to-use search engine.
  3. Kidtopia – Provides access to a wide variety of topics, but also allows for keyword searches.
  4. Sweet Search – A search engine that provides filtered search capabilities.
  5. Fact Monster -Easily explore and learn new facts at Fact Monster by using their well-organized categories.

What’s Next

In the Hyperdoc, students take their research and use it to craft a persuasive letter attempting to convince others.

Test your preparation and your public speaking skills in The Great Milk Debate. You will be assigned to a debate team. Together you will go through each of your letters together and develop an argument defending your side against another debate team who will defend the opposite side. Each side will get two minutes to present their arguments. The winning debate team will be voted on by the audience.

Kid-friendly search engines can introduce students to search strategies, alleviating educators’ fears of encountering inappropriate content. Give them a try in your classroom.

 

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