Databases Unplugged

This workshop is based on the material written by Mark Dorling and published with CS Unplugged

The day begins with a series of unplugged activities to introduce pupils to the fundamental concepts of databases. The skills and concepts developed here begin at a very simple level but progress to cover abstract concepts such as Relational Databases. The series has been aligned to match the scope, range and targets recommended in the Computing At Schools document "A Curriculum for Computing."

This activity concludes with a "plugged-in" activity using a database system. The Digital Schoolhouse Database Detectives lesson is aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils and based on the book Certain Death by Tanya Landman. Before completing the series of database unplugged activities, the class teacher is encouraged to read the book (except the last chapter) and complete a series of encryption activities loosely based on the book, the answers providing pupils with the clues to question the database and identify the murderer.

Pupils use cloud computing technology e.g. Google Documents: Spreadsheets, to collaboratively input data about the suspects from profile cards based on the book. Pupils then perform verification on their neighbour’s data entry before downloading the spreadsheet and importing it into Microsoft Access. After importing the data, pupils first use the filter tool to solve the murder using the answers from the numeracy challenges, then create a report for the Court based on a query identifying the murderer.

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