Searching the Digital Atlas
handout exercisecomputer exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Students will use the Digital Atlas of Idaho and its web links to discover how to use it as a resource to gather information about Idaho. This is an activity that will give students some experience navigating through the Digital Atlas and to learn its basic structure. They will also learn how to identify key words that can be used with the Digital Atlas "find" tool to search for information and a specific topic. This exercise may encourage students to use the Digital Atlas to find information to satisfy their own personal interests in answering questions of their own.

Students can work individually or in small groups. Let your students navigate through the Digital Atlas of Idaho to become familiar with its basic parts. Then tell them to find the information to answer the questions in Set #1 below. A key is provided, but do not tell your students the answers, instead, just give them hints. For example, information on wildlife would most likely be found the biology section. Information on fossils would be found in the geology section.

When your students have completed Set #1, teach them to identify key words within the question that can help them do a search using the "find" tool. The best key words to use are unique nouns that refer to your subject and are less likely to refer to other topics as well. The teacher may want to teach students how to use the "find" tool. Click on the page you would like to search. Pressing the control key and letter "f" key at the same time can activate the "find" tool. This will activate a dialogue box where the key word can be typed. Once the word is typed in, hit "enter" to search the page you are on for that word.

Once your students have worked through Set #2 have them try Set #3. One they are comfortable with these techniques, you can get them to play a game of challenging one another with finding something they think will be hard to find. The important rule in the game is that the challenger must be able to show that his/her item actually occurs in the Digital Atlas or they lose.

gen1ho.pdf | gen1AK.pdf

Handout Sample:
The sample questions below are shown in the printed handout.

Students will search through the Digital Atlas of Idaho to find the following information.

Set #1:
1. Name two National Forests found in Idaho.
2. How many butterfly families are found in Idaho?

Set #2:
1. What is a resident fish? Give an example of a salmon that is a resident fish.
2. What are Idaho's four major river basins?

Set #3:
Choose five mammals, five reptiles, five birds, and five amphibians found in Idaho. Identify characteristics that are unique to each class.

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Biology Topics

Lesson Plan by Judy Fong, Debbi Baerlocher, and Aly Baerlocher, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: