Database Detectives Solve a Mystery ~ Part 2

Who done it? Solving a classroom mystery, students use real life class information to design and input data into databases. They learn computer search and sort strategies and apply their new skills to educate the school community on how databases affect life in a democracy.

For more about Special #2 from

Database Detectives Discover Democracy
, author and
AT&T Teacher Disseminator,
e-mail Linda Scott .

Learning Standards
  • Collect, organize, and describe data.
  • Use technology to solve problems.
  • Construct, read, and interpret a given set of data.
  • Explore the role technology plays in our Information Age.
  • Classroom Activities
    Who sneaked into the room and used the computer for video games? Following an Activity Schedule that assumes students spend approximately three days designing a data record and inputting data,

    they solve the problem by analyzing clues left by the perpetrator. Starting with the first clue, students search their records. By the time the Database Detectives identify the culprit they are sold on the power of databases.
    Community Activities
    As students acquire database skills they are encouraged to view themselves as individuals and their class as a community. In preparing to hold schoolwide elections, they discuss the impact of databases on our rights to privacy.
    Students recount personal experiences with telephone polls. This leads to listing several skills and careers associated with polling: communication directors, writers, and computer programmers.
    ClarisWorks Office for Dummies by LeVitus and Higgins, 1997: IDG Books; ClarisWorks 5 in the Classroom K-12 1998: MicroMedia Publishing; "Looking for Data in All the Right Places," 3X5 cards, backup disks, Activity Schedule and Follow-up Tasks
    Students search database records created with ClarisWorks.
    Solving the mystery evaluates student ability to correctly input data and follow directions. Follow-up Tasks broaden searches and sorts (alpha, numerical, and multiple variables). It is important to observe if students use database functions or merely go through one record at a time. For an extended evaluation and a great problem solving activity have students input their own data to design their own database mystery.

    Web Sites
    For help with Appleworks & ClarisWorks there are tutorials online.