Kids’ Computer Research 101

My children love to use the computer for spelling and other online educational activities, but it is also an extremely valuable tool for their homeschool research assignments.

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

This week I taught my middle school children how to ~

Copy images off the internet

We used Wikipedia and MS Word.

First I taught them how to find the internet website and bookmark it

  1. Type in the website address and wait for the page to open fully
  2. Click the star on the end of the address bar twice till a drop-down menu appears “Edit this bookmark”
  3. Click “Folders
  4. Click “Choose” & scroll down for an existing bookmark or “Create” and type in the name of the subject folder, then click “Done” and you have your bookmark.
  5. Now that website is in the “bookmarks files” and you simply open a new tab by clicking on the + square.
  6. Click “Bookmarks” on the top menu bar, scroll down the folders, click the subject and find the bookmark.  The website will open on the new blank tab page.
  7. I keep Wikipedia at the top of the list so it is easy to find
  8. For a quicker bookmarking method, you can click “Control + D” to access the “Edit this bookmark” menu.  You’ll be surprised how quickly kids love to use shortcuts and hot-keys!

Now open a new Microsoft Word Page

  1. Click the “W” icon on the task bar
  2. or double-click the icon on the desktop
  3. or click “Start” and click the icon or program there.
  4. It is easier if you right-click the program icon and “pin to start menu” or “send to desktop” so that it is easily available.

Insert a table in Word – I find that it is easier to organize pictures copied off the internet in a table.  The pictures stay neat and spaced in an orderly way. It is easy to add more rows, re-size all the pictures to match the layout, and text is easy to align. I even use a table with a single column for larger images.

  1. Click the page and type in a heading for the project. Press “Enter” to go to the next line on the page.
  2. Click “Insert“on the top menu bar of MS Word
  3. Find the “Table” icon and click it
  4. Scroll down and across the little rows of blocks to highlight how many blocks wide and  blocks down,  usually 2 across and say 6 down, press “enter“.
  5. A little, squished table is at the top of the new page.
  6. Stretch the table to fill the page by hovering over the bottom right-hand corner of the table till the tiny grey & white block appears.  Hover over this square carefully and the cursor will become a diagonal arrow.  Keeping the cursor steady, click and drag the bottom square of the table to the bottom of the page.  (Not too much or the table will stretch over 2 pages.)
  7. Click in the first block and you are ready to insert pictures or type in text.

Copy a picture from Wikipedia & paste it on the table

  1. Go back to the Wikipedia tab in your internet browser
  2. Find the search bar up on the top right of the page.  Type in the name or subject. Click the magnifying symbol.
  3. Wait till the new page opens.
  4. Right-click over the image you want and select “Copy Image” from the pop-up menu.
  5. Go to back to your Word table and click in the block where you want to paste your image.
  6. Press “Control & V” to paste the picture.
  7. Click on the picture and small white boxes will appear around the corners and sides.  Click and drag the corner to shrink or stretch the picture.
  8. Go back to Wikipedia and click and drag the cursor over the title of the page/ the heading under the image.  Once the correct words are highlighted, click “Control + C” to copy the text.
  9. Go back to the Word page with the picture you just inserted and press “Enter” to move your cursor below the image.  Press “Control + V” and paste the text under the picture.
  10. This next step is very important – Reference back to the website – Go back to Wikipedia and right-click the image and select “Copy Link Location
  11. Now go back to Word and click in a block at the bottom of your table and create a place for all your references and Press “Control + V” and paste the image’s link location.
  12. If you want to hyperlink the link location to the picture you have  just inserted on Word then press “Enter” to move your cursor below the image and text.  Press “Control + V” and paste the image’s link location.  Now press “F8″ and “Home” to highlight the link you have just pasted.  Press “Control + K” and it and menu will pop up.  The link will automatically be in the bottom bar – just click “OK” and the menu will close and the link will now appear underlined and in blue. Always recognize and give reference to the original source.
  13. SAVE! SAVE!  Saveyour work each time you add a new image!
    • Press “Control + S” to save.
    • A menu box drops down.
    • You need to create a file name.  Use simple words that clearly describe the file.
    • Select your folder or create a new folder.  (I create a folder for each child with their own name and with sub-folders for different subjects or topics of interest.)
    • Press “Save
    • The next time you save your work on this page you only need to press “Control + S” and the program will automatically save everything in the same folder you first created or selected.
  14. Finally change any fonts, text or picture alignments and save. (I’ll share more details in another tutorial)
  15. Print the page once you are happy with the layout and size of the images and text.

My 9-year-old managed to find all the animals mentioned in the chapter of her South African History literature book.  She made this wonderful chart almost entirely on her own!

My 12-year-old has been assigned a weekly timeline activity.  She must find at least 3 images/ clip-art for her timeline as well as bibliographic information where relevant in her studies in that week.

She collected all her research on a table and cut up the blocks to paste in her timeline / Book of Centuries.

It is fairly easy to collect pictures, images or short pieces of text off the internet, but much more skill is required to find relevant information and rewrite it in their own words for more advanced assignments.

In another tutorial I’ll share how I encourage them to clip images, text, tables, charts, screen clips and even videos to One Note and create their own research notes.

What simple tips do you have for copying pictures off the internet?  How do you teach your children to work with MS Word?  Please share your ideas with us here on the comments.


14 thoughts on “Kids’ Computer Research 101

  1. Thanks so much for the computer 101 lesson. I learned so much and was able to help my son with his project. I so enjoy reading your blog.


  2. Pingback: Homeschool Blog Carnival – Creativity Edition | Homeschool Bytes

  3. Please continue on with Kids Computer Research 101. It is helping this Big Kid…me…Thank you so much! I have pinned it to my Teach ~ Computer Pin Board on Pinterest so that it may bless others too!
    If you know of any other good sites for info please post them as well. Thanks again!


  4. OH! over at blogger I still have LOADS of links on our homeschool blog if youd like to check them out, I can send you an e-mail invite, Iv already moved the buttons over so all thats left is loads of drop down boxes.


  5. Thank you for your ideas! Last week I was planning on making some planet notebooking pages in Word for my 10 year old. She said…”I want to do it Mom!” So I showed her how to insert shapes and how to add text to them. Also how to copy an image from Google Images into a rectangle shape (it resizes the image to fit), and change the shape fill and outline to no fill/outline – so it is only the image you see. She picked it up very quickly and now wants to fill in all the information in Word before printing them!


    • What an excellent idea to insert a picture into a blank rectangle shape – you can move it anywhere and rotate it! Perhaps we should put this together for lesson 102! Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • @Amber – the table’s boxes do change size depending on the size of the picture you paste in it. Don’t worry, just shrink the picture to fit the box or stretch them all to more or less the same size. I just let my kids ‘eye-ball’ the picture sizes to be the same size. You can make all the boxes the same size: On the top tool bar you’ll see “Table Tools” and under it 2 boxes – select “Layout“. Highlight all your the rows and columns and then click “Distribute Rows” and “Distribute Columns” (‘d only do this at the end of all the pasting to neaten the table.) Hope this helps! 🙂


  6. Pingback: Kids’ Computer Research 101 | Homeschool HUB

  7. Thanks for all of these ideas, Nadene.

    We are working on a Mac here and so use Neo Office (the same thing as Word)…. my kids use it a lot for typing spelling words. My oldest (10) also knows how to write a simple book report on the computer.

    I love your idea about researching the animals – copying and pasting pictures – and the assignment for the book of centuries. I think I am going to do something similar like that this week! 🙂

    As always, I love reading your blog.


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