Searching Online Topic Guide

The Internet is huge, and contains so much information that we need to use search engines to find what we are looking for. Search engines index all the web pages that they can find, so that when a search term is entered, the results can be displayed at once.

Because there is so much information, it helps to be specific when you are using a search engine. For example, the Topmarks site is an educational search engine, and a great place to find online games and resources.

Teach your children about searching online using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Visit Welcome to the Web and work through the challenges to improve your online searches.
  • Write some instructions explaining how to use a search engine.
  • Create a glossary of words related to online searches.
  • Demonstrate to children how to narrow down a search. For example, ask them to search for Tudors, then take them through the steps to make their query more specific. Do we want to learn about a specific Tudor, or perhaps an aspect of Tudor life? Show how being more specific improves the quality of the results.
  • Have a discussion about how we know if a source is reliable or not? Make a list of sites that are always reliable. How might we check if a source is reliable? Remind children to check on other sites if they are not sure about what they have found. What are the signs that a site might not be reliable or accurate?
  • Set your children an internet quiz: pose a series of questions, who can answer them correctly?

Searching Online Facts

  • A search engine is a website or service that allows the user to search for information on the Internet.
  • Google is the most used search engine worldwide, and is thought to run over 5 billion searches every day!
  • Many websites have their own internal search engine, usually shown by a magnifying glass icon.
  • You can use a minus sign (-) when searching to exclude things you do not want to show up in the results.
  • To search for a specific phrase, put it in inverted commas.


The Internet: How Search Works

This video from explains how search engines work.

Running time: 5:12

How Search Engines Work

This cartoon helps younger children to understand how search engines work.

Running time: 3:13

Safe and Smart Online Search Tips for Kids

This short video gives some great tips for searching online.

Running time: 0:32

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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