Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students

Take ten minutes at the beginning of class to transform your students into Internet Experts! In this blog article, I outline six options that make it easy for your students to find the perfect picture for their school assignment. Read on to learn more!

I am teaching the TechnoKids technology project, TechnoJourney. I am on Assignment 7 which includes activities for searching, sorting, and saving pictures from the Internet. Most of my students already know how to find an online image and save it to their folder. However, what I quickly discovered is that after typing in a keyword, the only strategy used to review the search results is to scroll up and down the screen scanning the bank of images to find the one they like.

UPDATE: TechnoJourney was replaced with TechnoInternet. The activities are similar.

The good news is there is a better way to quickly find the perfect picture! My students were so pleased to realize there was a faster way. Perhaps your students will be too!

You students have likely used Google Images hundreds of time. Despite how many times they have used this search engine, most will have never noticed the options on the LEFT side of the screen. Images can be sorted and filtered by subject, size, color, type, size, and time. These options will allow your students to find what they want FASTER!

Google Image Search Activity

Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students

Have your students complete this simple activity.

  1. To start, have your students open their web browser and go to
  2. Next, they should click the Images link at the top of the window.
  3. Type the search term parrots and then press the ENTER key. (There are so many great pictures and you are guaranteed to get results each time the images are filtered.)
  4. Now have them look at the LEFT side of the screen and read the words written in RED. These are the sorting and filtering options.
  5. Have students explore each option by systematically clicking on each one to study the results:
    1. Click By subject. The images are sorted by subject area such breed or activity.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click All results.
    2. Click Large. The images are sorted to display high-quality pictures. Click on Medium and then Icon to see how the bank of images changes.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click Any size.
    3. Click Black and white. Notice that the pictures look similar to coloring book images. Click red from the color palette. Now there are only red birds.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click Any color.
    4. Click Face to show people in the picture. Click Photo, Clip art, and then Line drawing to notice how the pictures displayed changes.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click Any type.
    5. Click Show sizes to have the pixel size displayed below each thumbnail.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click Standard view.
    6. Click Past week to view recently posted images.
      To redisplay the entire bank of images, click Any time.
    7. Click Reset tools to REMOVE ALL SORT ORDERS AND FILTERS!
  6. Afterwards discuss when you would use each option.

Practical Reasons for Using the Google Image Search Options

When should your students sort by subject?

Have your students use this option when they have too many pictures in their search results and it is taking a long time to find what they want. Sorting by subject, groups the images together making the results faster to scan.

When should your students sort by size?

Sometimes when students insert a saved picture from the Internet into their work it can become blurry when they try to enlarge it. When this happens, the students must make the picture smaller or delete the image and find a new one. To avoid this from happening, sort Google Images search results by Large size. Now there will only be high-quality images that will look great on a PowerPoint slide, poster, or report title page.

When should your students sort by color?

If your students print their school work in grayscale then color is not an important factor. However, if their work will be printed in color, then it is a good idea to sort by color to find the perfect picture.

When should your students sort by type?

Have your students use this option to narrow down the search results to display pictures that will best suit their school work. For example, if students want a photograph then select Photo, however if a cartoon like image is more appropriate then Clip art is a better choice.

When should your students display size?

For the most part, this option is not useful to many elementary students. The picture dimensions in pixels are displayed over top of the thumbnail. Encourage your students to use the Size option instead.

When should your students sort by date?

This option display recently posted images. Have your students use this option if they are looking for an image of a current event, latest product release, or recent photograph of a person.

Other Articles about Teaching Internet Skills using TechnoJourney

Now the Students’ Turn: Reflecting on TechnoJourney
A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!
Peer to Peer Teaching – Students Become the Teachers
Internet Tour Guide Activity
Use YouTube Videos in your Classroom
Students Love Google Maps
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Teaching Internet Skills – The Trust Test
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Bookmarking is a Basic Internet Skill that can be Complex
Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet
4 Strategies for Reviewing Internet Search Results
When Should Students Start Using the Internet?
Should you Teach Internet Skills?

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