Back in November 2019, we were asked about developing an inquiry for our Year 6 pupils in Computer Science which would step them through the FOSIL cycle and give them a good grounding in skills they will need throughout their time in school. We were in the lucky position of being able to write an inquiry on any topic within Computer Science so were keen to use the print resources we have in the library as the starting point – especially as computing books for 10 year olds are not the easiest thing to find. As we were building this inquiry from scratch, it was the ideal opportunity to look in detail at the skills that lie beneath the stages of the cycle and to equip our Year 6 pupils with as many of these as possible.
After an initial attempt at forming an inquiry around the question, How do we find things on the Internet?, we decided to switch the whole thing round and ask them to consider, Does Google know everything? Given that the majority of pupils of this age seem to believe that it does, we believed there was a real need for them to understand search engines , the world wide web, the internet and how everything works.
The questions this inquiry will try to allow pupils to discover answers to are: What is Google? What is a search engine? Is Google the only search engine? How do search engines work? Do they all work in the same way? What do they find? Where do they find it? What is the WWW? What is the internet?
The underlying FOSIL skills we hope they will develop – from the ESIFC skills for Grade 5/Year 6 – include:
Uses appropriate print, video, or electronic source to answer questions;
Begins to analyze multiple points of view from multiple sources to determine similarities and differences;
Uses various note-taking strategies dependent on purpose;
Uses navigation tools of pre-selected websites and databases to locate relevant information.
With help, organizes notes and ideas and develops an outline, mind map, or graphic organizer;
Forms own opinion or claim and uses evidence from texts and clear reasoning to back it up.
Presents information clearly so that main points and supporting evidence are readily understood by audience;
Uses a variety of technology tools chosen by teacher or selected on own to create products [for this inquiry, producing the final outcome electronically will be an option].
The inquiry has just begun, so we will see how our Year 6s get on.