Search Strategies - Key Words

Knowledge Constructor
Magnifying glass over the word Google


Students will understand how to safely search for information and how to narrow a search to get more specific information.  

Students will:

  • Be able to use the safe search setting in Google.
  • Be able to refine searches using more precise words, multiple words, synonyms, and alternative words and phrases.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Search engine:  A search engine  is websites or software that search the Internet for documents that contain a keyword, phrase, or subject that is specified by the user.

  2. Key words: Key words are the most important words related to a subject which you type into a search engine to find the information you want.

  3. Precise: To be precise is to be clear and exact.

  4. Synonyms: Synonyms are two or more words with the same meaning or nearly the same meaning.

  5. Alternative:  Alternative is a different way to say or do something.

To prepare for this activity:

  • See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 
  • Extension: Screencastify may be used to create tutorials for students to model how to find more specific information using keywords and phrases based on a specific subject.

  • Read and Write for Google Chrome can be used to help students with reading deficiencies as they navigate a variety of websites.

Directions for this activity:

  1. Choose from the video links in the pre-planning section to introduce students to search engines and keyword search strategies.

  2. Model in a whole group setting with student interaction how to find the answer to a high-interest question.

    • Example:  What foods are toxic to dogs?

  3. Have a student suggest one keyword to use in the search engine to try and find the answer. Discuss the number of search results. Explore the first three sites to see if the answer can be found.

  4. Repeat this process using two keywords. If the answer is not found with two keywords then continue to add keywords until the answer to the question above is found.  

  5. Have the students answer the follow-up questions:

    • How many searches did it take to find the answer to the question?

    • How many keywords were needed?

    • What sites were used to answer the question?

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Provide students with additional questions to apply keyword search strategies.
  • Students could use a presentation tool (Google Slides) to present the search procedure used, answers to the discussion questions and answer to the question provided.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Knowledge Constructor
3a. Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual and creative pursuits.
3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:
Read and Write for Google Chrome

Changing Keyword video

Commonsense Education

Key to Key Words lesson plan

Keyword and safe seaching video

Keyword searching activity video

PBS Kids Video on search engines


Utilize questions that pertain to literature, poetry, and authors. 

Utilize questions that pertain to current topics of study; animal habitats, animal adaptations, and weather.

Utilize questions that pertain to current topics of study; geography, climate, and population.

This task card was created by Lisa Fenn, Lakeview Public Schools, January 2018.