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1 Learning Objectives


In this lesson you will develop an understanding of the learning strand Data and data representation on your progress ladder, working towards blue/indigo level.

  • Investigate what a database is and their basic features.
  • Recognise and Explain the importance of Databases
  • Explain in detail key database terminology

2 Database Basics, Terms & Definitions

Key Terms:

  • A database is an organised store of data.
  • Databases organise data in tables
  • A table contains the Data specific to one type of Entity, such as a table for people, a table for products, or a table for orders
  • A record is a single row in a table
  • A record contains many fields about an entity, for example a record of person may have the following fields: lastname, firstname, dateOfBirth, phoneNumber, gender
  • A field is a single piece of data about an entity, such as lastname.
  • field is also called column


An example of a table contains two records of people:

LastName FirstName Gender Role email
Ellis Xiaohui F Teacher [email protected]
Smith John M Student [email protected]

Learn It

  • We have been recording data since before the time of the Romans. In fact some of the earliest Databases come this period in history.
  • The Romans would record such data as wheat harvests and military camp itineraries so they knew how much equipment the soldiers had at a fort.
  • We obtain the word Record from the Latin word Recordari, the noun was earliest used in law to denote the fact of being written down as evidence.
  • A Record is therefore a collection of facts relating to an object, person or event.
  • For hundreds of years these records were recorded on paper, hence the term Paper Database.
  • Before Computer Science, records were written on pieces of paper, which we called files, and stored in filing cabinets.
  • Paper Filing Cabinets could store less than 6,000 files, or 6000 records because each record needed to be separated from the others for privacy reasons.
  • A Computer Database of the same size would only be a few Megabytes and fit on to a USB stick, and be less harmful on the trees than all that paper.
Challenge 1: 

Why do we store data within Databases? 
What would an on-line store such as Amazon store within a Database?
What if they wanted to retrieve one record from a Paper based Database? 
How would this compare to an Electronic Database? 
How would this Data be organised? 

Now Think, Pair, Share!

Think, Pair, Share

  1. Have a think about your answer - 2 mins.
  2. In Pairs discuss your thoughts - 2 mins.
  3. Share your thoughts with the Class

Watch this Video

Badge It

Learning Strand: Data and Data Representation

  • Using the Key Terms listed above identify and explain in detail the key definitions for Databases (Database,Table, Record, Field). You can achieve this by using an example such as the one we have covered for Challenge 1, explaining what tables & fields would be needed and what data would be stored in the records.
  • Achieve this by using a Text Editor of your choice & submit your evidence on the Bourne to Learn website.
  • Each Term will need to be fully explained in your own words within a short paragraph, using an example. Remember to use full sentences and connectives (..because, therefore).

3 How are Databases Used?

Learn It

  • So Data is stored within a Database. It is organised into rows called Records. Each column represents a Field, which has specific types of Data. This could be Text, Numbers, Dates
  • For Example


  • However why and how are Databases used?
  • The first question can be answered by thinking about Paper based Databases. Computer Code can be written to search through data to Match a piece of Data. We call this querying the Database, Query being another word used instead of the word question
  • A Query is created within Database programs such as Microsoft Access by pressing a key buttons and typing in the Criteria, what we call the Search Term.
  • For web-based applications and almost everything else Queries are created using SQL which stands for Structured Query Language. Don't worry about this now we will be covering both in later lessons.
  • This is not the only use of Databases however new Information can be obtained from a Database. First, let's refresh "what is Data?" and "what is Information?"
  • The words "data" and "information" are often used as if they are synonyms. Nevertheless, they have different meanings.
  • Data: Raw material, from which you can draw conclusions, facts from which you can deduce new facts.
  • Information: knowledge, intelligence, a particular piece of data with a special meaning or function. Information is often the result of combining, comparing and performing calculations on data.
  • Let's look at the example below.


Badge It

Learning Strand: Data and Data Representation

  • What Databases do you use in your daily life? Perhaps on your phone, perhaps on your personal computer or laptop?
  • Research 2 applications in real life where Databases are used and how.
  • Achieve this by using a Text Editor of your choice & submit your evidence on the Bourne to Learn website.
  • Each application will need to be fully explained in your own words within a paragraph.
  • Remember to use full sentences and connectives (..because, therefore).

Badge It

Learning Strand: Data and Data Representation

  • In addition to the work you have completed for the Gold Badge, explain the company or application's reasons for using a Database.

Key Points Check

  • A Database is an organised store of data. A Database is made up of various Tables containing Data specific for a purpose. For instance a Car Hire Database contains Data specific for Hiring a Car. One Table will be used to store the customer details wishing to hire a car. Another Table will be used to store the Hire Car details such as Registration Number and fuel type.
  • A Table is used to contain the Data specific to an Entity. For instance the Customers are an Entity, and so are the hire cars.
  • A Record is a single Row of the Database. A Record contains data specific to one instance. For example Fred Smith's name and address within a customer database is an instance and therefore would be stored within a Record.
  • A Field is a single Column of a Database. A field contains values relating to one property of an entity. For example the surnames within customer database, containing all the surnames of all the customers. Fields have specific types of data, such as text, whole numbers or date and time.