Modelling Search Engines

In their ICT lesson next week Year 7 will be learning about Search Engines.

Lesson Objective: To understand what search engines are and how they work

At the beginning of each lesson the children are presented with a differentiated set of questions and they have to choose one question to answer. The idea of these questions is to either consolidate their understanding of the previous week’s lesson or to establish their existing knowledge. For this lesson I will be asking the following:

  1. Name a search engine.
  2. How would you search for a specific phrase, such as a film title?
  3. Write the dICTionary definition for a search engine.

After responding to the question the children will gather around the central table and I will briefly explain what a search engine is and how they use algorithms known as ‘spiders’ to ‘crawl’ around the web, gathering data which is stored in their ‘index’.

The children will then move onto the main activity which involves a pack of Top Trumps which, prior to the lesson, I will have distributed around the room. The pack I have chosen is a Star Wars pack as each card features a different character along with a paragraph about them. I will also give the children a table of information to complete. This table will have a list of keywords which I want the children to look for as they ‘crawl’ through the cards,  building up their ‘index’

So one of the key words may be ‘Jedi’ – the children will look at the information on the cards and look for where the keyword appears. If it occurs in the bottom line then that is worth 1 point.If it is in the penultimate line that is worth two points and so on up the card. This means that if the word appears quite often on a card then it will score higher and it also assumes that if the word appears near the beginning of the paragraph then it is more important than if it appears at the end. If the keyword appears in the title of the card itself then it is worth 10 points.

Once the children have ‘crawled’ through ten cards I will then ask them to ‘search’ for specific terms. They will use their index to decide what the list of search results would be. If I ask them to search for “Jedi” then the card that has the highest score against that particular keyword would be top of the Search results list.

We may also look at other search terms such as Clone AND Wars or Jedi -Master.

ANy thoughts or comments about this idea would be most welcome and I will blog how the lesson went on Monday.




One thought on “Modelling Search Engines

  1. Good stuff Chris, have you plans for any further lessons on Evaluating websites? If so, have a look at some of the resources on – mainly pitched at PP+ but maybe still scope for introducing at primary?. is a great spoof website!

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