About the 2.12 Sources and Search Engines category


(Replace this first paragraph with a brief description of your new category. This guidance will appear in the category selection area, so try to keep it below 200 characters. Until you edit this description or create topics, this category won’t appear on the categories page.)

Use the following paragraphs for a longer description, or to establish category guidelines or rules:

  • Why should people use this category? What is it for?

  • How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?

  • What should topics in this category generally contain?

  • Do we need this category? Can we merge with another category, or subcategory?


First of all, let me say that Code.org is a fabulous idea and a great tool for learning web programming. However, I do believe that there are prerequisite skills that certain grade levels (e.g. 5th-12th grade) need to (or should) have in order to be successful at doing these type of lessons or the lessons need to be modified to manage a gradual learning curve for students with learning challenges or other deficiencies in understanding math/computer science/user interactive-art concepts. That said, here is my feedback on this lesson:

This lesson would be a very tricky exercise for middle school students (e.g. students with learning disabilities, students who can’t focus, ESL students, emotionally disruptive students or students who have a short attention span, etc) because of the level of focus that would be required to complete the rubric style tasks in a timely manner could be challenging. Moreover, the “reflective” discussion purpose of this exercise can be a bit confusing (judging from the blank responses I got from my TeacherCon colleagues when I asked the question: “What are the differences between the way search engines work and how humans search for resources?” The exercise for this lesson and whatever the discussion question is that should follow needs to help my audience develop some reflection about their “lessons learned”. In my lesson demo, the current question required me to drill down to the lowest possible understanding. For instance, it was clear that this exercise required A. a search through various “sources” of information, B. a search for valid information, C. strategies for how to search using a search engine e.g. search engine optimizing by the user, and D. how fast a human can search vs. a computer? This lesson cannot be implemented in a 40-50 minute period within a potential classroom of first time users (e.g. middle school students) who may have trouble getting past greeting their fellow student without some sort of drama or distraction. More over, this lesson could be (or should be) done in the “paired programming” format. Even under the best circumstances (e.g. where paired programming could help speed up doing a cooperative in-class assignment), the room full of (more mature thinking) teacher colleagues (at TeacherCon) had trouble staying within the required timeline to complete the rubric style tasks. I spoke to another CSD colleague (i.e. “Julie” from a different State teaching CSD) at TeacherCon who had the same group lesson to teach and she reported that there were problems “understanding” the lesson content as well?

In order to answer your questions more directly, I am re-posting the questions with my answers here:

  1. Why should people use this category?
    Answer: I am not certain that this would be a lesson that could be used effectively within Unit 2 unless you are going to talk about “content development”, “web design”, “user interface” interaction and “optimization strategies” related to web content development (or more directly defining a marketing strategy for how/why the end user would look at the “source”).

  2. What is it for?
    Answer: This lesson does not do a good job of explaining why it is being presented at this stage of the lesson planning. This lesson needs to be expanded and perhaps separated as being an entirely separate Unit.

  3. How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?
    Answer: This particular lesson has many different components which should be defined more thoroughly to help the user/students comprehend the value of “sources”, “search engines” and “search engine optimization” which can be achieved both programmatically and through a practical “procedural” approach.

  4. What should topics in this category generally contain?
    Answer: A. Web content development strategies, B. Web design, C. Web governance with regard to responsible web content development, D. Web security to examine fraud, E. Search engine optimization as it relates to web content development strategies, F. Web user interface design/programmatic web development and G. Quality Assurance i.e. how there are real world jobs simply designed for “validation”, evaluating the “trustworthiness of content” and “flagging” web sites that pose a security risk to the user.

  5. Do we need this category?
    Answer: While this is an important category, the lesson planning needs to be more definitive with regard to how the student should understand why “sources” and “search engines” are important

  6. Can we merge with another category, or subcategory?
    Answer: This lesson could be incorporated in several different lessons so that the student can intuitively piece together how “sources” and “search engines” can merge (or create an overall perspective) of how web design, web development and coding plan a big part in search engine optimization.


Thanks for the detailed feedback. This is one of several lessons that pushes students outward from the more explicit content creation goals that we focus on in the rest of the unit, and will certainly play out differently depending on the background knowledge in your classroom. The wrap up reflection question that you mentioned is intended to push students and could definitely be modified to address students who aren’t ready to make that leap…


I think that this could easily be two separate lessons. This lesson goes from search engines to sources and back to search engines. I suggest making adjustments of possibly separating the two and to spend more time on the validity of the sources that are found. Also, maybe consider addressing “fake news.”


@tnieman Thanks for the feedback! We will look into that in future updates to the curriculum.