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Getting Started On the Internet: All Navigators On Board!



This second lesson in the Getting Started series introduces students to basic navigating skills -- the skills they'll need in order to get around on the Internet.

Getting Started on the Internet Icon

Now that your students have had plenty of practice using that new computer as a word processing tool [see Word Processing in the Primary Grades], it's time to introduce them to the basic skills they'll need to navigate the Internet. Soon your proficient processors will be super surfers, too!



[Note: This lesson is best used with a large-screen hookup to a computer terminal. That way, the entire class can watch and participate in the lesson. If you do not have available a large screen hookup, you might teach this lesson to small groups of five or six students. Or, as you did in Getting Started 101, you might teach a small group of students who already have some computer skills and enlist them to serve as "trainers" to teach the other students.]

In this lesson, students will be learning a few of the basic skills they'll need to surf the Web. They'll be learning about:

  • The mouse
  • URLs (another name for the Web site addresses, short for Uniform Resource Locator)
  • Using the scroll bar to scroll up and down the page
  • Using the back arrow to return to a previous screen
  • The pointing hand
  • Clickable pictures
  • Hyperlinks

You might write all the topics to be covered (above) on a board or a chart. Introduce the list at the start of the lesson, telling students that those are the computer topics they'll be learning about today. Refer to the list during the lesson and quiz them about their new knowledge at the end of the lesson.



First things first: Teach students how to find the icon for the search engine your school uses (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.).

When you reach the search page, direct students' attention to the long, narrow (rectangle-shaped, horizontal) box near the top of the page. Point out that the box contains a VERY important piece of information. It includes the URL -- or the Web address -- for the page. (Right now, the URL in the box is the Web address of your Internet provider.)

Introduce your students to the mouse, the handheld tool that they'll use to move around the computer screen. Move the mouse so that the arrow moves into the URL box at the top of the page. Notice that the arrow changes into an up-and-down line (or a cursor, or what some people call the dog bone!) when you place it in that box.

Take time now to read aloud that address, teaching students that the / symbol is called a slash and the period (.) is called a dot. (Read aloud: h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-w-w-w-dot . . . and so on.) Then invite a student or two to repeat the address. Then invite the whole class to join in as you read.

When that is done, click on the LEFT button on the mouse. The Web address in the box will be highlighted. Now you can type on the keyboard any address, and that new address will replace the highlighted one.



For your students' first lesson in navigation, you're going to use a Web site called Internet Island. Internet Island was designed by the people at the Miami Museum of Science to teach teachers how to use the Internet.

Check out the site before using it with your students. The site will introduce you to the basic tools of navigation -- the back arrow, the scroll bar, the pointing hand, and more.

Move your mouse into the URL box and type the address for Internet Island in the box. As you type the address, say aloud
Invite a couple students to take turns reading aloud that Web address. Then let the entire class read aloud the address in unison.

IMPORTANT: Emphasize the importance of typing the URL (Web address) correctly.

Return Arrow graphicNow hit the return button and you'll find yourself on Internet Island!


Back Arrow graphicReturn to your provider's home page by clicking on the back arrow at the top of the page.

Then write the Internet Island URL on the board for all to see. Now, go back into the URL box and type the address again, BUT this time type a capital "o" (O) instead of the zero (0).

Return Arrow graphicHit the return button and see what happens.

Repeat the process leaving out one "i" in the address. What happens? Ask students to identify the problem in the URL. Do the same thing, replacing one of the slashes with a period. What happens? The URL must be typed exactly or you're not going anywhere!

Now give a few students an opportunity to type the Internet Island URL exactly as it appears on the board. Chances are, one of the students might make a typo. Give the student an opportunity to correct the error.

Welcome to Internet Island! We're only going to journey through the first few screens of the Internet Island site today -- but there'll be plenty of skills introduced on those pages. Then you can give your students some time to practice their newfound skills until they really have the knack for navigating.



Read aloud to students the information on the first Internet Island screen ("You and your students are shipwrecked") as they follow along. Follow directions on the page, as students learn how they can use:

  • the scroll down and scroll up arrows to see the whole page,
  • the mouse to click on an image or to move to another page, and
  • the back arrow to return to a previous page.

Then click on the arrow at the bottom of the page to move to the Screen 2 ("Discovery"). Here students can practice scrolling and clicking. Move the mouse so the arrow points to the image on the page. The arrow will change to a pointing hand as it moves over the image of the sea creature. When the pointing hand is pointing at the small image of the sea creature, click on the LEFT button on the mouse and that image increases in size so it's easier to see! (Note: You might, for now, tell your students to ignore the mouse's right button. Use the LEFT button only.)

You can also move the mouse so the arrow changes to a pointing hand over some parts of text. Move the mouse until the arrow lines up with the underlined text that says Spotted Scorpionfish at the bottom of the page. The arrow will change to a pointing hand. Click on (which button?) the LEFT button on the mouse and you'll jump to another page with more information about the spotted scorpionfish. This ability your computer has to jump from one page to another is called a hyperlink. Try it. Click away!

REMEMBER: How do you get back to the page you were on before you clicked? Use that back button to return to a previous screen!

After you've experimented with the spotted scorpionfish hyperlink and you're back on the second screen, click on the arrow to move to Screen 3 ("Beachcombing"). Here students get more practice scrolling and clicking on pictures. Then click on the Safari Touch Tank hyperlink at the bottom of the page to see a different kind of clickable picture. (This kind of picture is also called an image map.) In the Safari Touch Tank, you can move the mouse over the picture. In a half-dozen places on that picture the arrow will change to a pointing hand. Whenever you see the pointing hand, click on that LEFT mouse button for more information.

(Remember how to use that back button, too!)



Now give your students an opportunity to perfect their Web navigating skills. Let them practice accessing your Internet provider, typing URLs (Web addresses) and clicking on hyperlinks. To start, students might revisit a familiar place -- Internet Island. In addition, you might post a few more Web site addresses so students can practice their skills. Here are a few sites worth checking out:

This site offers clickable text lists:

More Ideas

  • How many computers do you have in your classroom? Just one? You might want to pair up your students for this practice opportunity. One student can be the reader first while the other handles the mouse; then the students can change roles.
  • You might use a sign-up sheet (or you might assign times) for students to use the computer. That will ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to practice their new navigating skills in the next week or so. You could assign each individual or team a 20 - 30 minute period.
  • For some word processing practice, Invite each student to create three math word problems (for example, "The tree had 12 leaves left on it. Then a wind came along and blew off three more leaves. How many leaves were left on the tree?"). The student then types and prints out a sheet with the word problems and his or her name on it. Collect the sheets of word problems when completed and redistribute them, being sure that no student gets the word problems he/she wrote. When the students complete the math word problems, each should return the paper to the person who created them. Then the word problem "author" corrects the paper.


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Updated 8/14/2012