I have finally gotten back to the SD State Library Challenge! For this entry, I examined SIRS Discoverer and Issues Researcher databases.
As an academic librarian, I am very impressed with the SIRS Discoverer resource for k-9 students. I searched "coyote," and the results were lists of articles in age-appropriate magazines, like "National Geographic Kids," and "Ranger Rick." The results list and links are very much like the databases that USD subscribes to, and citations for each article are included. This is an excellent resource for k-9 teachers or librarians to help kids get the "feel" for academic research at a level that is more comprehensible to them.
The SIRS Issues Researcher was also formatted much like a university database (I see these are ProQuest products, so that is not surprising). I searched "global warming," and the available resources and articles form the results list were very impressive. I also clicked on the link to "Curriculum Pathfinders," with led to more resources, but I couldn't quite determine whether the pathfinders are geared more toward teachers or students. In either case, the materials provided seem to be of high quality.
I would strongly recommend both of these SIRS resources for k-12 assignments because they can help hone students' research skills and prepare them for college-level research.