While Britannica School is great for students, it's also a solid curriculum design resource for teachers. You can choose from the library of plans or use the Lesson Plan Builder tool to customize activities to your own instructional goals and your students' needs.
As for students, interdisciplinary research projects are just the beginning. Britannica School can be used for independent work on any topic, and at any reading level. In language arts, before reading a novel with an unfamiliar setting, have students consult the site to get some context. With the option to save articles and email them, students can share what they read -- group research projects can take on a social media sensibility and efficiency.Continue reading Show less
Britannica School is Encyclopedia Britannica's online database for schools. The site offers substantial research support for students in elementary through high school, as well as instructional scaffolding for teachers. Content on the site is differentiated for elementary, middle, and high school reading levels. When visiting the simple homepage, students select their grade level, at which point they'll see a dropdown menu of prompts. Middle schoolers might see something like "Explore videos and articles on famous people and places" while high schoolers might see "Get quick facts and in-depth information on a wide variety of subjects."
Articles are available at three reading levels, labeled simply 1, 2, and 3. Students select their preference -- every article that follows will appear at that level. The Lesson Plan Browse and Lesson Plan Builder sections for teachers include search options for Common Core standards, reading level, and STEM connections. There's also information on specific instructional needs like ESL/ELL and Special Ed accommodations.
Even given its breadth, Wikipedia can't compete with the way that Britannica so completely caters to students' needs. Once students get comfortable navigating the site's many worthwhile options, they'll learn about -- and appreciate -- the importance of consulting reliable sources. Britannica School's extensive catalog of differentiated articles, multimedia features, translation and audio options, vocabulary support, and adaptive reading levels make the research experience manageable and accessible to students of all different learning levels and abilities.
The site's How To guides for research papers, book reviews, science reports, and presentations are all written with students in mind. However, these might be improved if they offered all of the same interactive features as the encyclopedia articles.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.