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Instruction Ideas and Activities: Databases

Creative activities RIO librarians use in library instruction

Posters - Ruth Szpunar

Get a post-it flipchart and put pages up throughout the room - enough for one for each group of 3-5 students. Divide them into group and give each group a database to examine. Give them leading questions about the database and give them 10-15 minutes to study the database, then make a "poster" about it (asking them to incorporate the info related to the questions posed). Then give the other students 5-10 minutes to go visit the other posters and make notes for themselves.

Alternate: the other groups can make comments directly on the posters themselves.

This also works on rooms with whiteboard walls with no post-its needed.

Catalog (WC Discovery) Activity -- Eric Bradley

This is a worksheet I pass out after giving a overview of WC Discovery, or what we simply call the catalog.  While it is a review of the mechanics of the discovery layer, the students also practice using boolean operators and developing keywords in research.

Catalog Activity -- WC Discovery -- "social media and marketing"

Database Worksheet - Ruth Szpunar

This is a worksheet that I pass out to the students to work in groups and evaluate a database. Then they come up to the front of the room and demonstrate the database for the class.

For a class of 15, working in groups of 3, it takes about 10-15 minutes to do the worksheet and 15-20 minutes to present the databases to the class.

Reference Activity -- Eric Bradley

For a biology research class I teach a library session which includes, among other things, using reference sources.  I point out a online reference database, AccessScience, and point out how to search and use science related dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Then I follow up with the class completing this activity.  My favorite part of this piece is I get to say "Hey, guess what? You can do these same things when using Wikipedia too!"

Reference Activity -- Access Science