Exercise: Getting WebQuests

a WebQuest about understanding the WebQuest strategy

Introduction | Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


WebQuests use cool Internet resources to spur students on to authentic learning. Because you are going to create your own WebQuest, it makes sense for us to practice working through the design process to make sure we all "Get" WebQuests.

The Task

Objective for this exercise:

Given compelling Web resources, you will be able to:

  1. Identify a topic / curricular subject area

  2. Define a Task / Big Quest(ion)

  3. Brainstorm some activities

that could be used in an actual WebQuest.

The Process and Resources

Step 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

As a starting point, we have all completed the Input, Transformation, Output activity where 5 groups analyzed 5 different WebQuests. This experience counts as a background introduction to WebQuests. The following activity will prompt you to creatively mock-up the basic components of a WebQuest. Here are the exact instructions:

Step 2 - Looking Deeper: Different Perspectives on the Topic


Divide into groups of 4 people. Within your group, count off by 4.

Take 10 minutes to explore the link below that corresponds to your number:

  1. The U.S. National Debt Clock
  2. Debt Distortion
  3. ZIP to IT
  4. The Concord Coalition

Take 15 minutes to answer the following questions on the handout provided:
(Note: example answers follow each question below based upon the WebQuest "Searching for China")

  1. What would be a broad topic of study or content area you could use this link with? (Tip: think about main units in the courses offered in your district's curriculum.)

    Social Studies (modern China) or Language Arts (Controversial Issue essay) are two examples.

  2. What would be a good overall Task or Big Quest(tion) you could pose students relating to the general topic?

    "What should U.S. policy be toward China? Create a HyperStudio stack that presents your team's argument."

  3. Brainstorm what activities you might ask students to do with the link you analyzed. Create a short list of instructions that prompt students through using the Website to transform information into learning.

    Based upon the link Wang Dan's Trial and the New "State Security" Era from AsiaWatch's gopher server:
    1. What types of human rights abuses are occurring in China?
    2. Present three examples that show three different types of human rights violations.
    3. Compare and contrast some aspect of traditional Chinese philosophy or religion that you've studied with the human rights violations the government currently imposes.

Gather with your group of four and compare notes. Your job now is to come to a group "answer" to the above three questions. Do this in three steps:

  1. Answer Question 1 as a group. This should be pretty straight forward; don't spend more than a few minutes on it.

  2. Share the activities you brainstormed for Question 3 so that you get an idea of the potential learning activities students could engage in.

  3. Now, you're ready to answer Question 2. Think about a fairly large "Big Quest(ion) / Task" that would integrate the separate activities you each came up with. Think about using an output activity like sending an email message or creating a presentation or HyperStudio stack.

The Julia Child Trick*

You know how on cooking shows the chef spends most of the show preparing the dish and then in the last minutes, voila, pulls an aromatically steaming tray from the oven? Magically, all that preparation emerges as a finished product!

To get a taste of how the Web sites you analyzed were actually used in a WebQuest, click on the asterisk above to "open the oven."