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The 20th Century and Book Report Databases


The 20th century database project was created in 1999 to celebrate the most important events and highlights of the century. The sixth graders of Campbell Hall School were busy summarizing those events as they occurred in different categories of life. Those included: Politics and Current Events, Life and Style, Art, Music, Science, and Sports. As I was following their project, I thought it would be much more beneficial for the students to be able to record their findings in a database by contributing each of their parts to the big picture of the 20th century. I created a template for each category and installed it on every machine in the lab. Students conducted research and made summaries of their topic. Then they accessed their templates and typed their summary in fields. When all students completed the task, I merged the records into their respective files and established relationships to interconnect between the databases. The outcome was the ‘Cross Category Database’. With records titled: “What Happened Between 1900 – 1910”, displaying all the events of that decade, the entire century was covered.

When this project was created, it was impacted by a parallel existence of two entities: the classroom and the computer lab. Each of these entities had their own curriculum and rarely cooperated. I was teaching computer education, while the classrooms led their own curriculums. As technology curriculum coordinator, I tried to inject technology into existing classroom projects. The 20th Century Database became such an attempt. Students’ contributions fit right into the big picture of the 20th century, which they were now able to view in different perspectives, analyze, compare and contrast, determine cause and effect, and satisfy their own queries. The experience of building the whole from many little parts changed their interpretations of the data that was presented. However, it could have had a greater impact on student learning if students built it.  Time constraints were such that students could only feed content into the existing templates I prepared.

Click here to view a slide show of the 20th Century Database

Click here to view a slide show of the Book Report Database