Britannica Encyclopedia (available via MySandstorm, Library tab) is a useful resource for giving an overview of a specific topic that you’re teaching. The articles on Britannica are edited for length with busy teachers, students and researchers in mind, and aim to provide sufficient information without overwhelming the user.

When searching, staff and students have the option of choosing foundation, intermediate or advanced reading level. This can be changed at any point when searching.

Unlike Wikipedia which is written and edited collaboratively by volunteers, relying on those volunteers to check facts and give a balanced opinion, the articles in Britannica are written by identifiable and creditable sources.

Along with an overview of a subject, Britannica Encyclopedia provides links to related topics, images and videos. Teachers can save articles to their favourites and browse lesson plans. Under the ‘Students’ tab there are guides for students including a pre-research planning sheet, advice on how to pick a project for research, gathering information and recording and organising facts.

I find Encyclopedia Britannica particularly useful when searching for historical figures. For example, if on advanced reading level you were to search for Rosa Parks, you will get an overview of her life, her role in igniting a successful campaign against segregation on city buses and her involvement in the civil rights movement. The image below shows the layout of the article. Under ‘Related’ you will find various related articles including ‘Montgomery bus boycott’ and ‘American civil rights movement’. On the article itself (top right) you will see a row of icons which allow you to email or send to Google Classroom. There are also options to cite the article, translate it, or hear the text spoken aloud.

Even if students are unable to quote from Encyclopedia Britannica directly, it is a great starting point for research and an excellent teaching tool.