Help Your Children to Understand the Basics


As a teacher, I find it unacceptable that so many of today’s students cannot comprehend the meaning of research. Ask any high school student what research means and you will most likely get “Google” as an answer.

Is it true that anything one wishes to find is easily located on the Internet, thereby obviating the necessity for library visits and primary sources? You tell me.

The following is a list of five questions I pose to my readers. Can you find the answers online?

1. What original designs were destroyed in the Levi Strauss factory in the 1906 fires caused by the San Francisco earthquake?

2. What was the Iroquois name for the Pacific Ocean?

3. What percentage of adult Americans attended Cornell University in 1960?

4. Was the Sawney Beane murder case in Scotland factual or grossly distorted folklore?

5. Who is the "Patron Saint of Lonely Souls" referred to in Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway?

Please feel free to respond with your own lists. By the time we finish playing around with this post, we should have a good enough idea of the nature of research to be able to recognize when our children are simply entering information into a search engine and not really researching at all.



  1. Google is way too easy to use... What kids don't realize is that not every piece of info they google is TRUE.. Wikipedia is notorious for having half truths, after all anyone can edit in Wikipedia...Technology has given an easy out for everyone.. The trick is when the student can use all sources... The library is a sure thing and also the staff is great on finding things that maybe Google doesn't have at its disposal.
    BTW the last question I could not even think to answer, since I only like a few of his songs... He's easy on the eyes, that's for sure! :-) and I don't need Google for that!. LOL

  2. This is unfortunate. I take my children to the library each week, and they've witnessed my research habits, which consist on searching for and reading several books on a subject.

    They should still be taught to research several ways, rather than the "easy" way. Education would be so much richer in value then.

  3. KBF: We must support libraries for the sake of our children. Also, I can state with all sincerity that I never thought of Bon Jovi as eye candy.

    Miranda: Exactly. Online research is fantastic, but one must first learn what research really is before attempting to perform the process. Students should understand the difference between primary, secondary, and non-credible sources at a young age.

  4. My children always loved to read. My oldest son loved the encyclopedia! When we lived in Chicago, during the winter, we had a running Scrabble game for the kids in the neighborhood. If they didn't know the correct spelling of a word, I made it a rule that they could look it up in the dictionary as long as they made sure to memorize the meaning of the word.

    I think that St. Rita is the patron saint of lonely people, but I could be wrong on that.

    JJ, thanks for your offer to help us move in. We can probably use all the help we can get!!!

    As for Sawney Beane, that story is about as likely as Vlad the Impaler being a vampire!!

    I know that Levi Strauss had a patent for the rivets on jeans, so I would imagine that the designs for placing those rivets in stress areas were important.

    Magellan named the Pacific, but I don't speak Iroquois, so I can't even take a guess at that one!!

  5. Judie: I take it you do not want to spend time researching those facts. That is the whole point. Our kids want everything at their fingertips. Research is time consuming.

  6. Dear JJ,
    I can see how ignorant I am... I do not know the answer to any of your questions!

  7. Fanático Um: If you and I do not know, you can rest assured that students don't know. That is why it is so important to educate them in the art of research. It appears today's children type their inquiries into a search engine, and if they fail to get an immediate answer, they give up.

    Research is a lot of work. Young people must learn that the world is theirs for the taking, but if they are too lazy to take it, they will be subject to the whim of others.

  8. Hi, I just joined both of your blogs and I am looking forward to visiting them :)

  9. @JJ: YOUR wife would worry if you ever thought Bon Jovi was eye candy!

  10. ayala: Thank you!

    KBF: Yes, very true.

  11. JJ, right now I am lucky to have any blogging time at all, much less research time. If I had children at home, however, and if the answers to those questions were a required part of a class, you can bet we would be at the library, or doing an online search for the answers. I didn't see any answers to the questions in any of the other comments. Cut me some slack, pal, and I'll cook you a fabulous dinner for helping us move into our new house!!!

  12. Judie: That's a deal! When is the big event?

  13. JJ, as soon as we get this house sold. We have had showings every day, so I am hopeful that something will develop soon!

  14. JJ are the answers to those questions written upside down somewhere on this page, I missed them? :-))

    Doing research one thing leads to another. I see nothing wrong with starting research online using several browsers--Bing being one of them--and from that putting together a plan of action. The library will be the place to end up with a browser shopping list in hand. And subject narrowed down, the library will reveal additional paths to follow pending how serious a paper your writing. Bon Jovi? Be serious.

  15. Research via Google...scary stuff.

  16. LW: No, I don't have the answers. I would have to research them. And no, Bon Jovi - not serious, but I knew nobody could find it online.


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