Use a Kid-friendly Search Engine
The temptation for many students when looking for answers to “I Wonder” questions is to simply “Google it.” This giant search engine can be overwhelming to young students, though, and not all results are appropriate or desirable. You can provide your students with some excellent alternatives. The search engines/search tools below offer slightly different approaches and interfaces and are safe ways for students to find answers. All have been reviewed by the Thinking Teachers here at TeachersFirst. Test drive a few yourself, with your students in mind. Consider posting links to your favorites on your classroom webpage for summer access, or use a tool like Symbaloo or Sqworl to have them all handy in one place.
Slime Kids (additional search engines available here)
Sweet Search (including Sweet Search 4 Me for emerging learners)
Ask for Kids
Kids Click (created by librarians; search by keyword, category, even Dewey Decimal number ranges!)
Montage a Google
Dib Dab Doo
Use More than one Engine and Go Beyond the Top Ten
Encourage students to use more than one search engine/tool since results can vary dramatically from one to another. Point out, too, that websites that appear at the top of the search results aren’t necessarily those with the highest quality content. Train students to skim all results, and look further down the list for hidden gems.