Internet Searches

Objectives

  • To explain how to access basic information about the Internet
  • To describe how to navigate the Internet to find information
  • To describe safety issues related to using the Internet

Materials

  • Computers with access to the Internet
  • “Internet Scavenger Hunt” handout (1 per participant)
  • Prizes for cyber scavenger hunt (optional)

Prepare Before

You should adjust the time and content of this activity to the needs of your group. Most young people today are already very Internet savvy, but discussing safety on the Internet and how to find “gold standard” resources and literature on a topic are important topics to cover.

Secure a room with computers and Internet access. Ideally, each young person should have his or her own computer or share with only one other person. Participants can get easily bored during this activity if they are not able to work hands-on with the computer. One source for borrowing a computer training room may be a local school, university, or library.

It is best if the room has a projector hooked up to the instructor’s computer. This way the youth participants can see what you are doing on the screen and follow along on their own computers.

Shortly before you facilitate this activity, make sure to check all the websites you want participants to visit to make sure they are still accessible. Websites often change URLs or shut down completely. At the end of the module you will find a list of websites that are good places to find information on a variety of topics. Add your favorites to the list as well!


Warm Up

You should take some time to discuss security issues related to using the Internet. Let the group know that email is not totally private and is more like sending a postcard through the mail rather than a letter in a sealed envelope. There are also dangers in downloading programs, games, etc. from websites onto computers either at a worksite or at home. By doing this it is possible to get a virus that can destroy software, delete files, or damage your operating system. If you are using computers onsite for this project, you should set rules and protocols around downloading software. Stress that no one should never give out personal or identifying information over the Internet. Let them know that some people prey on children and teenagers by pretending to be someone they are not and getting personal information about the youth. Under no circumstances should participants give out telephone numbers or addresses.

Experience

Hand out the “Internet Scavenger Hunt” handout. Instruct participants to find as many answers as they can to the questions on the sheet. Participants may either work individually or in teams depending on the number of computers available to you. Some people may have more experience than others. Teaming people so they can teach each other helps facilitate this activity, however, it is important that everyone has the opportunity to have hands-on time on the computer. Make sure that participants who are more comfortable navigating the Internet give others a chance to learn as well. You can offer prizes to those who get the most answers to make the activity more fun and competitive. Make sure to walk around and answer questions that participants might have.

Reflect

Approximately 10 minutes before it is time to go, have each person or team share how many answers they have found. Go through each question and have the participants tell you the answer and how they found it. If you are in a room with a projector, you can actually have the participants navigate to the answer so that all group members can watch and follow along on their own computers.

Summarize

Ask participants what process they used to decide what website to use for their answer. Discuss how there are various methods to finding information and how it is useful to access many resources.

Demonstrate

Lead a closing discussion on how students will use the internet when completing their research projects.