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Conducting Effective Web Searches by 21st Century Information Fluency Project


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Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, Computer only, Mobile devices for students, Computer

Activity Description

21st Century Information Fluency Project Wizard Tools
Source: 21st Century Information Fluency Project Wizard Tools (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

Teach your students how to conduct effective Web searches with the Search Wizard tool.

Designed by educators for educators (and students), this site offers three tools that make it easy to teach the essential steps of locating, evaluating, and ethically using digital resources:

  1. Search Wizard: helps students learn how to build good Web searches
  2. Evaluation Wizard: helps students evaluate Web sites
  3. Citation Wizard: helps students build citations (in five styles) to be used in research papers or documents.


  1. Students should be familiar with conducting Web searches using Google.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the search fields used in the Search Wizard tool. Use the Advanced Search help, if necessary (yellow stars with question marks).
  3. Practice using the Search Wizard with real examples that you can use to demonstrate the tool in class.
  4. Create Web search practice scenarios to help your students practice the search skills. Have them build the Web search and answer some questions based on the results of their search.


  1. Introduce the topic by asking students to identify what information they have searched for online. List this on the board or in a word processing document.
  2. Ask students if they have ever had difficulty finding information online. Discuss briefly and tell them they will be learning how to build good Web searches in this lesson.
  3. Display the Search Wizard tool new window using the digital projector.
  4. Explain each of the advanced search boxes, enter example searches and direct students' attention to the Google search at the bottom of the screen. For example, exact phrases need to be put in quotes when conducting a Web search: a search for Cosumnes River College should be entered like this: "Cosumnes River College"
  5. Practice these skills by giving a few scenarios and asking students to identify how they would enter this information into a Web search. Conduct the searches at Google new window to see if the desired information was found.
  6. Direct them to this Web site and have them practice the scenarios you developed.

Teacher Tips

There are lots of challenges and activities that the teacher can do along with the students.

More Ways

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Diploma


  • Intermediate
  • High
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced

Lesson Plan


Ask students how they search online and what tools they use to search. Write down the topics and tools they use on the board or in the chat pod for the remote class. 


Today you are going to learn how to search for topics to find credible websites

  1. Display the Search Wizard tool using the digital projector or by sharing your screen in the remote classroom.
  2. Review each of the advanced searches.
  3. Click on the small question mark for the students to learn how to use that particular query.
  4. Continue for the operators and other features such as Nyms. Try using a few of the search types to see what types of articles students will get.
  5. For example, exact phrases need to be put in quotes when conducting a Web search: a search for Cosumnes River College should be entered like this: "Cosumnes River College"

Have student practice using these skills by searching for a topic on this site and then searching for the topic in Google. Are the results the same or different?

Have students try the different challenges before completing the final evaluation.


Students should select one website that they evaluated in the above process and complete the form. students should type in the website link, and pick three aspects to evaluate. Author, Publisher, Date, Backlinks, or Fact-Checking. In order to do this, they will need to visit the website to evaluate it. Finally, have them submit a copy and then print it out for homework.

Source: screenshot by Screenshot (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])


Understanding how to fact-check a website is very important. Hopefully, they will use this process in future website research and evaluation.


  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Inference and Interpretation
  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making


  • Reading Foundational Skills
    • RF.4 - Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. (Fluency)
  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    • CCR Anchor 7 - Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.