Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this internet searches lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources (including a free online game) to practice identifying keywords that result in relevant information for a given internet search

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Select keywords that help find relevant information in internet searches.
  2. Identify the most effective keywords for a given search.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP
  • Student copies of the Worksheet (optional)

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Internet Search movie to build students' background knowledge and prepare them for learning. Talk about the search results Tim and Moby get in their query about Abraham Lincoln. What was wrong with their first attempt at the search? What strategies did they use for refining it in order to get better results?

  2. As a whole class or in small groups, have students brainstorm a list of keyword strategies for obtaining good search results. Talk about and display the list(s), telling students they will have the opportunity to edit and add to the list as they learn more.

  3. Project the Search Shark game for students to see. Fast forward through the initial video, explaining that students will watch it later on. Read the game introduction together, and then click "Next" and read the first question together. Talk with students about the keywords they would type in for the given search query. Click "Next" again and review the game directions, emphasizing that if students forget the search query, they can click on the question mark on the hook for a reminder.

  4. Play the first round of game play as a class by having a volunteer select and drag the keywords she or he would use. Afterward, discuss why certain keywords would be more effective than others. How might the search results be different if other keywords featured in the game were used? You may want to test out students' predictions by typing various keywords into a search engine and comparing the results.

  5. Allow students 10-15 minutes to explore the game independently or in pairs and complete all three rounds of game play.

  6. Revisit the keyword strategies students wrote at the start of the lesson. What information learned from the BrainPOP movie and game would students like to add to or change in the list? Guide students to reflect more deeply on important things to remember when choosing keywords.

  7. Extend game play by working with students to list 3-5 questions the class might want to answer by searching online. Examples include the last day of the school year, the date of an upcoming sports event, the weather in your community tomorrow, and the menu for a local pizza place. Have students work with a partner to write down the best keywords for each search, and then test out their keywords on the computer. Each time they are able to answer the question using the top three search results, they earn a point. If they have time, students can then generate questions for their partners to search for and continue game play.

  8. Tell students they will have the opportunity to refine a search they are interested in. Refresh the game on your screen and play the initial video featuring Solomon. Talk with students about Solomon's experiences, and how he changed his keywords to get different results.

  9. Have students work independently or collaboratively to generate a topic they would like to learn more about, and list a set of keywords they could use to find results. Encourage students to test out their keywords and refine them using the tips and strategies they learned.

  10. Allow students to share their findings with the class in a format similar to Solomon's. They can make a video of themselves talking, record a screencast, or do a live demonstration of search results obtained with different keyword combinations. Have students conclude their videos or demonstrations with 3 key tips for choosing strong keywords.

  11. Assess student learning using the Worksheet and/or the Quiz.

Extension Activities:

You can find more ideas for helping students use appropriate keywords through this Edudemic article entitled 15 lesson plans for making students better researchers. We also encourage you to explore the Common Sense Media website, where you can find app recommendations, videos, teacher and parents resources, and more.