As part of our Technology COS we ask that students at least know what a database is and how they're being used in everyday life. I'd love to find a short video or some simple explanations to share with teachers. Does anyone have any suggestions?
That's a good technology question. For some reason, the word database immediately brings to mind the word complicated for many people. I think you are on the right track having children think about databases that are being used every day. After you explain the meaning of a database by perhaps using the example of a school's database described below, have the children brainstorm to make a list of different types of databases: medical records, inventories, music artists and their recordings, video games, television shows, etc.
One simple explanation of a database is to talk about a school's database that includes the names of all the students, parents/guardians, street addresses, city, state, zip codes, phone numbers, email addresses, students' schedules, students' teachers, etc.
A good definition of a database is an electronic file that stores information in a series of records. Records are often contained in one or more tables. However, this definition requires an understanding of records and tables. Again I think you can help children by using the school database analogy and explaining that all the information about each child constitutes a record and all the information (records) of all the children in a specific class is a table.
Both lessons could be used in part or in their entirety to help students understand the use of databases in recording information about weather which is a concept familiar to them and could be easily adapted for other grade levels.
For older students, Xpeditions offers a lesson called Twister Tracking that involves having students use databases to learn about, organize, and compare tornadoes in their home state and across the country.
Perhaps using database as part of a keyword search in thinkfinity.org will give you more suggestions for ways to teach databases to children.