A common topic many college students need instruction on to aid in their information literacy skills is the concept of Boolean operators. The following is a lesson plan I thought would be a fun way to introduce the topic to a college class.
1. Students will know the definition of Boolean logic and Boolean operators.
2. Students will be able to use Boolean operators to connect key ideas and conduct searches.
1. Have projection screen set up.
2. Have computer set up and Internet connectivity established if these tools are available.
1. The teacher writes the three Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT on the board. The teacher explains that these terms are used to narrow or expand the results in online searching.
2. The teacher tells the students that they are going to help demonstrate the meaning of each Boolean operator.
-The teacher should ask all students who are wearing jeans to stand up. Count the number of students standing.
-The teacher now asks that students who are wearing jeans AND blue shirts to remain standing. All others should sit down. Count the number of students still standing. There should be
fewer students standing.
-The teacher should explain that using the AND operator has narrowed the results.
-Now the teacher asks that students wearing jeans OR blue shirts should stand. All the students wearing jeans should stand, all the students wearing blue shirts should stand, and all the
students wearing jeans and blue shirts should stand. Count the number of students standing. This should be a larger number than before. The OR operator has expanded the results.
-To demonstrate the NOT operator, the teacher asks all students wearing jeans but NOT sneakers to stand. The NOT operator has excluded all students wearing sneakers. It has, therefore,
limited the results.
3. The teacher should demonstrate using these operators in an online search.
1. Students should work in pairs or small groups to determine keywords and their relationships about a topic they are researching and search online.
2. The teacher provides students with blank Venn diagrams.
-Students write in their keywords and shade in the area that represents each of the 3 Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
-Have students conduct their search online.
After students have completed the topic worksheet, they should present their work to another group or the class.
Hope this lesson plan was helpful!
One thought on “Lesson Plan for Instruction Session on Boolean Operators”
Jennifer, this is a great way to make Boolean logic tangible to students! I like that you go beyond the physical demonstration and immediately make them apply the concept! Brett frequency uses popular movie titles in his sessions. A few semesters ago, Alex Boucher developed a great “boolean poker” game based on the same idea. It is a wonderful idea to incorporate some kind of activity into the introduction of Boolean logic– it makes it so much easier to use the operators when the time comes 🙂