OERNZ/In search of music

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The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the concepts associated with flat-file databases using a large database. Students will also learn to conduct searches within an Excel spreadsheet. Later lessons will show how to import the data into MS Access for more sophisticated operations.

Curriculum standards

Base knowledge needed for NZ 2786 Generic Computing Level 2. National Curriculum UK, Key Stage 3 Core ICT skills (Year 7/8)


An Excel database - either supplied with this unit or generated by importing data from an iPod. A Worksheet as supplied or modified.

Note that this lesson assumes the use of Microsoft Office 2007 but could be adapted for use with Open Office

Lesson content and procedures

Please see this document

Icon objectives.jpg


Enter the intended learning outcomes for your lesson here
  • How to find "needles in haystacks"
  • Using the terminology in a way that shows you are a database wizard.


This lesson is the first in a series of 5 that aim to introduce database concepts. Students will see what a large database looks like before attempting to create their own small one.

Students must know how to open Excel and may have used the database functions previously. If they have not then these functions will need to be demonstrated first.

Time: 45 - 50 minutes. Organization: whole class instruction with practical work in pairs.

Step-by-step procedures

Review and introduction

  • Review Excel tables and how they can be used as a database – select a range and apply the Data | list function.
  • Explain the key terms record and field in relation to databases.
  • Explain that students are going to select records from the database by using the functions in the drop-down lists over each field.

Student activities

Activity 1

Students work with a partner to experiment with the different functions. The teacher supplies no or minimal help.

Activity 2

Students complete the worksheet. If some students are stuck, students who have solved the problem correctly come demonstrate their solution. As far as possible, students are self-organising.


  • Q&A – what are fields, records; what is a subset?
  • Can we sort records by 2 fields – how and why (what sort of questions would it answer)


Students hand in or electronically submit a completed worksheet

Answer key and/or marking rubric

Cheat sheet


Crystal Clear app korganizer.png Have you used this lesson plan? Self-reflections and comments welcome. Please post your feedback on the discussion page. Crystal Clear teamwork.png