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This lesson is on creating a Database (on Africa)


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


4, 5  

Title – Creating a Database

By – Melinda Brady

Primary Subject – Computers / Internet

Secondary Subjects – Social Studies

Grade Level – 4 – 5

Concept/Topic to Teach: Social Studies-Africa/Technology

Standards Addressed: National Standards: For Elementary Students Intermediate Grades 4 & 5

Social Studies:

TSW (The Student Will)

          1. Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies and cultures address similar human needs and concerns

          2. Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, databases, grid systems, charts, graphs and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.


Technology research tools: TSW

          1. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.

          2. Use technology tools to process data and report results.

          3. Evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

General Goals:

The students will create a database for the continent of Africa.

Specific Objectives:

This activity is the culminating activity for a Social Studies Unit on Africa. The students have compiled research on individual countries on the continent. Students will take the research they have done and compile a database on the entire continent. After compiling the database students will use the information to make a presentation on the continent of Africa.

Required Materials:

Use of a computer and access to database software. I used Apple Works system 5 Students will need research information about the country of their choice, or the country they were assigned.

Anticipatory Set:

Now that you have got some information about your countries we need to put together a presentation on the entire continent. Why don’t we start by putting the information into categories. Have the students brainstorm the types of information they have located. My students came up with the following categories: Location, type of government, economy, population, climate, natural resources, type of geology, religion, language, cultures, holidays, points of interest, education, date formed, animals, etc.


Now that we have the information we need a way to compare and contrast the data. Ask the students if they can think of any ways to accomplish this. We decided to put together a database on the continent. I explained that a database was similar to the CD ROMS they had used to locate the information on their countries. We could put in information and then compare it and contrast is using Find request function.

First we had to decide on what fields we would use for the database. My class used the categories we had previously brainstormed. We used this list to set up the fields.

Second, click on the Apple works icon to open the program. Choose new documents database format. Click OK. This will take you to a Define database field page.

Type in the field name/category.

Select the field type. The Appleworks program has 13 types of fields. The field type determines what kind of data you can put in a field and what work you can do with the data. The most popular types of field are Text: any combination of letters, numbers or symbols. Number is any positive or negative number, including integers and decimals, up to 255 characters. Date is the day, month, and year data in five formats. Time is hours minutes and second data . Name is a full name. This is good for alphabetizing.

After you type in the field name and select the field type. We used text, date and name. Click on create and then done.

To add new fields go to Layout, pull down to Define Field and release. You have to go through the above procedures to define and add any new fields. I set up the original fields. Now it is time for the students to add the data to the fields. Stress to the students they are only to add information to fields not create or modify them. Save, close and name the file.

Students will need their research and access to computers to add to the database.

I had the students go to my documents and pull up the file named Africa. To add information to the database the students open the file. The go to Edit and scroll down to New record and release. They can then add their data to the file. If they come to a field that they have no information for they leave it blank.

Once the database was complete I explained the find function of the database program. I told the students, “The database will sort the information based on find requests. They have to use exact terms and tell the program what information to find and in what field to find it.”

To find information go to Layout and scroll down to Find and release. The field you have defined will appear on the screen. Click on the field you want to find information in and type in the search criteria, data you want to find. You can enter search criteria in as many fields in the find request as you want. After entering the search criteria the students click on the find button on the side bar.

Plan for Independent Practice:

I had the students play with different find request to see how the information broke down. They printed out the results and then the class decided which criteria we would use to compare the data.

My class was broken down in to six groups and we used the following categories: Cultures, Type of government combined with Economy, Points of Interest, Geology, Natural Resources combined with Climate and Holidays combined with Language.


The groups did a variety of find requests on their fields. The groups took the information they had gathered and put together a presentation on their areas. The class presented the information at our multi-cultural fair.


I did two assessments for this assignment, both assessments were based on a 5 point rubric. Students were given the rubric prior to beginning the assignment.

Database Rubric:

          To earn 5 points the student will:

          Input at least 12 fields of information into the database

          Complete at least 5 find request searches with printouts.

          Consistently able to discuss results and importance of data found

          To earn 3 points the student will:

          Input at least 8 fields of information into the database

          Complete at least 3 find request searches with printouts.

          Satisfactorily discuss results and importance of data found.

          To earn 1 point the student will:

          Input at least 3 fields of information into the database.

          Complete at least 1 find request searches with printout.

          Failure to complete above requirements results in 0 points.

Group Presentation:

          To earn 5 points the student will:

          Consistently present information in clear and concise matter

          Consistently complete assigned duties with in the group. *

          Consistently participate in group discussions of information *

          Participate in classroom presentation of information.

          To earn 3 points the student will:

          Satisfactorily present information in clear and concise matter.

          Satisfactorily complete assigned duties within the group. *

          Satisfactorily participate in group discussions of information. *

          Occasionally participate in classroom presentation of information.

          To earn 1 point the student will:

          Present some information in a clear and concise matter.

          Complete some assigned duties within the group. *

          Participate in some group discussions of information. *

          Demonstrate minimal participation in classroom presentation of information.

          * These points will be assigned by group members.


Melinda Brady


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