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I had dozens of people ask for a hit on this.  Good ideas and good websites:

 Boolean Logic information

I've done it a couple of times with our electronic card catalog.

Search for Pets. Note the number
Search for Dogs - note the number
Search for Pets NOT Dogs - ask the kids will it be more or less than
Pets, Dogs - why?
Search for Pets OR Dogs - ask the kids - more or less than Pets, Dogs -
Search for Pets AND Dogs ask.....

I see the light go on in some eyes - others look at me like I've lost my
mind - 3rd though 8th..
Kate Stirk, Media Specialist

I took a course in 1984 at Jefferson Medical College in Phila.  The
librarian encouraged us to practice using
HAM and EGGS with different variations to get the concept.
I still use it.
Sister Sally Daly, SSJ, librarian
Since we hope to have full Internet access next year, I've been thinking
about how to teach this skill. I'm hoping to expand on the skills
learned with the online catalog, which is setup to default to a keyword

You also might wish to read an article by Dixie Talbot in the recent
issue of Book Report about teaching students how to use search engines.

Hi Pat,
I don't know if you have already been flooded with ideas on how to teach
it in elem. school.  When I was in a real library, I did this by having
the kids stand up or sit down depending upon the criteria.
For example, all fifth graders stand up. (the whole class stands)
Next...all fifth graders AND who are wearing jeans (everyone not wearing
jeans sits down)  This shows that AND really makes things narrow, rather
than broadening.

All of you who play an instrument OR who play a sport (the kids see that
OR means the group gets larger)

All of the band students stand, but NOT if you play strings (shows a
narrow group and how it can be made smaller)

I had a bunch of these examples and then let the kids make up their own.
We also tried it in small groups using Primary source and let them see the
numbers if they combined things like Dogs AND cats, dogs OR cats, dogs NOT
pit bulls, things like that. The numbers seemed to make an impact. "Do you
really want to read through 1,354 articles on dogs or would you like to
narrow your search?"

We introduce the concept with use of Venn Diagrams from 1st gd. on.  Using
the Venn diagram strategy teaches the concepts of and, or and not which is
the basis of Boolean searching.  We also use examples such as FARM ANIMALS
to show use of and, or and not and what effect it has on what is turned up
in the search.  If you want more specific info as to some of what we do I
would be glad to share ideas.

Ellen Jay

Hope the above helps.  None of what you see "fits" an actual.  But I use
the above material when I work with a teacher to set up a research
project.  I have recently used the above with 6th graders to prepare
them to do research for a Medieval project..  The 6th graders are mostly
on their own now with only a little help from me to use three search
engines (Yahoo, Infoseek, Metacrawler), and they are using the
Encyclopedia Americana Online by Grolier.  Sorry, I don't have something
more complete on my computer at this time.

My introduction to Boolean logic (for 2nd grade up) goes something like this:

Everyone who's wearing pants stand up. Good. Now Everyone who's wearing a
skirt stand up. Good. Now everyone who's wearing pants AND a skirt stand up.
Ah! No one should have stood up! If I wanted everyone in a skirt and everyone
in pants to stand, what should I have said? OR. Good. Now everyone wearing
pants or a skirt stand up. Excellent.

Sometimes I'll continue with AND NOT, or just move on to library examples. I
show the examples on the library computer, so the see the numbers changing.
Some of my old-standby's are:

basketball AND biography
basketball AND NOT fiction
dogs AND fiction
cats OR kittens
I did an inservice for teachers on Boolean. I made a Power Point
presentation to show them the differences between and, or, and not. I
recreated a slide to look like my online catalog screen and then typed
in "Jewish" which pulled up 478 records. (We are at a Jewish school).
The I typed in "and Family" and got 212 records.  Then I typed "and
video" and got 4 records.  I then use some other search terms that come
from daily teacher requests and show how using "or" and "not" gives
different results and "targets" their search. I use lots of humorous
clip art (people bogged down under piles of paper, bleary eyed people,
people jumping for joy with one sheet of paper in their hand, etc.)  I
also made a PowerPoint slide that put the three terms in a Venn diagram
and that helped the Math/right brain folks get it.  Hope this helps!


The most success I have to get the idea across with kids and teachers is the
visual of the circles.  I over lap them and color in what is represented.  Ex:
One circle represents searching for cats.  color it all in.  Over lap two
circles( about half way)  one circle represents cats the other circle
represents dogs.  The connecting word is AND.  Only color in the area where
the circles over lap, this area represents the information one will get if
looking for cats and dogs using AND.  Now, to show using OR, the two circles
are over laped and you color both circles and where they over lap.  the cats
OR dogs search shows more information then the AND search.

It's a quick way and it is a great handout.

Bunkie Wilson

Pat Wende, LMS
Royal Oaks Elementary School
Sun Prairie, WI

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