BerkswichCE Primary School

Achieve, Believe and Care

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Flat-file databases


To begin this unit, Year Five started to think about what a database is, before creating a simple off-line database to investigate how these work and the problems that are faced without the use of a computer.

In the next lesson, the children examined two different databases, considering how the information was held in records with several fields. After careful consideration, they realised that there could be pros and cons of using an online version. Using a countries of the world database, these were some of their findings...

  • The database could be unreliable if the quality of the information added wasn't good
  • Databases on the computer are incredibly quick and can find information at speed.
  • A paper version is not easily used, but a computer version needs to be easy to use too.
  • Human error when adding the data could mean that the results may not be correct.

During our next lesson, we compared our paper data-base with an online version. Using our paper version, we managed to carry out searches more efficiently by cutting the corners from fields that were not relevant. It worked very well, but was confusing when there were full or zero returns. Now imagine if we had over a thousand records, instead of eight!


Using 'AND' and 'OR' searches!

Our next lesson allowed us to learn new functions included on online databases. We learnt how we can expand and refine our searches by using 'and' and 'or' functions. After much practice, we used the functions to answer different questions. See our examples below! We agreed that these tools can help you find out more detailed information without needing to carry out any additional searches. Helpful!


Real Life Databases

In our final lesson, children took on the role of travel agents. They used a real-world flight-finder database called ‘Expedia’ to search for a flight that met certain criteria. Expedia is an online database, holding millions of records about flights on its website — far too many to store or sort manually. This was a great opportunity for the children to apply their knowledge of databases to a real life example. Great work, Year Five!