I just spend 30 minutes teaching 2nd graders what a database was, how one works, how they use at least two nearly every day (the online library catalog and the Accelerated Reader™ quiz software), how I built and use one to keep track of AR™ Point Club tags, and we even built one based on a test question they had had.
Yes, that’s right, we’re testing 8-year-olds on what a database is and when to use one.
For the record, they were fascinated by my lecture/demo and a couple even asked how they might build one to keep track of stuff in their lives. I didn’t even have to prompt them on how we might sort the little cards I had them fill out: they were right on it with “last name,” “homeroom,” “birthday,” or even “homeroom THEN last name.”
This has been a message for those who are convinced that schools have gotten worse since they wrestled with Think & Do workbooks when they were in 2nd grade.