Presidential database

Heide Fry
Social Studies/Language Arts/Math/5th grade


Social Studies:

Develop an awareness of United States History

Understand the role and importance of the people and events that shaped the U.S.

Become familiar with the United States' three branches of government

Become aware of the responsibilities of the United States government

Review and predict political change in the United States


Languages Arts:

Locate information from a variety of sources

Analyze and evaluate information and draw conclusions

Convey clear main ideas and supporting details to purpose and audience



Collect, organize, display and analyze data

Select and use appropriate mathematical strategies

Read and interpret data

Add/subtract time 


Technology Objectives Addressed:

Produce word processed documents that have been drafted, revised and edited electronically and which incorporate graphic images

Use technology to access, retrieve, and evaluate information

use databases to organize and access information

Use software independently and cooperatively

Become familiar with the purpose, functions, terminology and process of creating an database

Use a database and its functions to gather, analyze, conclude and predict information


Activity Description

What was the process that your students went through to complete this lesson?

Students began by researching a U.S. President by accessing information from a variety of sources including books, encyclopedias, CD-ROM's, videos, databases and web pages

The class became familiar with database and its functions by first participating in some sorting/venn diagram activities that involved basic terminology such as attributes, fields, sort, ascending, descending, and, or

As a class, we brainstormed a list of attributes that we wanted to include in our database and research reports

Students researched and composes a report on a U.S. President

Students entered data from their research into a class-created President Database

Students developed worksheets to take future classes through the process of Learning and using our class-created database

This project results in three finished products: A written research report on a U.S. President that is orally presented, a U.S. President database, and a worksheet to facilitate the use and understanding of database 

How did you monitor student progress?

We brainstormed a list of what we wanted to include in our reports and database, and each student was given a copy that was periodically checked to ensure the students were progressing on track

Research reports were due as a rough draft, finished product and were presented to the class

A Presidential Fact Sheet was completed by each student to ensure progress was being made that all the information was readily available to enter into the class created database

The worksheet was prepared in-groups during class and supported with teacher observation and direction as needed.


Was there a template or an example that students were expected to follow?

A fact sheet and checklist were created by the class that listed the information that must be researched and and included in the reports and database.


How much time did you dedicate to this project?

 Total: This was a three-week unit

 Daily (approximate) 1-2 hours daily


How was the final product presented?

Research reports were presented orally in front of the class, and a written copy was handed in for grading.  The database work sheets were copied and students had the opportunity to try out each other's work sheets. 


Who was the audience for the final product?

Reports were presented to the class, and worksheets were traded amongst groups for "trial runs"


Learning Issues

  What prior knowledge was required on the part of the students in order for them to be successful in this project?

  The writing process, research skills including the use of electronic sources, and word processing. Someday we will be to the point where database skills will have been previously taught, but for this project, I had to integrate the database skills into the research project. 


Resource Management

   What was the student to computer ratio? 5students to a computer, except when the database was being built and data was entered into the database. At this point, students rotated through 1 computer. 

   How did you schedule your students' computer time? We worked on the majority of the project in a center rotation format, with each student getting about 30 minutes a day.

   What was the location of the computers and other technology equipment used by students? The computers are located along one wall and are networked with access to the Internet.

   How would you suggest beginning teachers obtain computer resources for their students?(Knowing some of your strategies would be valuable for our preservice teachers.)

  Rate the level of supervision required for students during  the project, specifically for computer and other technology use-high, medium, low

 The supervision level is medium to high.



  What hardware was required for your project?

 5 networked computers, monitors and a printer.  The stand-alone computer and projector made the database teaching so much more effective and time efficient!

What software was required for your project? Netscape, Works 

Anything else?



  What kind of assessment did you use for this project? The student-generated checklist, a presentation and written work rubric, and student's self assessment on the worksheets to facilitate the use and learning of database. 

  What categories did you assess? (I.e.: content, screen design, depth/breadth, etc.)



  How does the product that you submitted compare with other students' products for this same project? The students' work is typical of most of the student's work produced.  The entire class created the Database. 


  What did you like best about this project?  The student's enthusiasm and pride in being responsible for creating a database for future classes to use, and in creating a worksheet that will help future classes to learn how to use a database.  The students were very responsible and aware of what needed to be included to teach other kids how to use a database because they had just gone through the learning process themselves.  It was also a kick for me to watch as they realized how much thought, planning, and work goes into creating a lesson.  They gained a whole new understanding as to what it takes for a teacher to create and implement a lesson!


What did the students like best about this project? They enjoyed becoming the "teacher"! They really seemed to embrace the responsibility!

Rank the level of student involvement in this project-high, medium, low

with very few exception, I would rate student involvement as high!

Rank the level of student interest in this project-high, medium, low

with very few exceptions, I would rate student interest high!


Would you teach this lesson again?