Week 6


  • What special features are hidden in Google specifically?


Students will...

  • logically construct their search queries
  • implement a variety of search techniques


  • How often do you look at the second page of search results?
Hopefully this discussion offers space to follow up on open questions from your last class meeting.


Today is a good day to let students break down into pairs and jam on their own for a while.

Boolean logic

Depending on the age and math background of your students, you may find that explaining Boolean logic in terms of set notation or systems of equations is helpful.

  • AND, '''implicit in all multi-keyword queries'''
  • OR, |
  • NOT, -
  • nesting, ()
  • phrase, ""
Nesting is often most useful with the OR operator. For example, to look for molecular biology activities on Cambridge university campuses, you might search for:

"molecular biology" (MIT OR Harvard) -spring

Give each pair 2 or 3 challenges in narrative form like this. Leave blank spaces for them to create more challenges. When it seems like people are starting to drift, announce that everyone must switch papers. The scenario writers can decide how much help they want to offer.

Special operators

Give out a special operators handout after groups have been working for a while. Rather than give it to everyone at once, give it to just one or two pairs. Who gets curious?

Don't explain these operators but challenge the students to experiment with them, figure out how they work, and what they do.

  • ''n..m''
    • "red sox" 1999..2002
    • "cd player" $20..$30
  • ''site:''
    • site:ibm.com "thinkpad t40"
    • site:mit.edu "tae kwon do"
  • intitle:
    • intitle:"computer science" robot
  • inurl:
    • inurl:edu "new england"



  • In one paragraph, identify a weakness of Google.
  • In a second paragraph, suggest a direction they might take toward fixing this problem.

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