Exercise: Getting WebQuests

a WebQuest about understanding the WebQuest strategy

Updated in April 2020

Introduction | Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion


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 for Everyone

You can choose to read, explore or watch videos to get a feel for what WebQuests are. This part of the activity might be best done as preparation / homework so you can take as much time as you like. It might be a good idea to take notes and jots any questions you have to contribute to a leter discussion.


Explore Samples

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. The Fiscal Ship - see a video for how to play or The Federal Budget Challenge
  3. How to contact your US representatives in the House and Senate
  4. The Penny Game - from The Concord Coalition

Take 15 minutes to answer the following questions:
(Note: example answers follow each question below based upon the WebQuest The Tuskegee Tragedy)

  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 school's curriculum.)

    Social Studies (20th Century History, Black History) or English 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?

    "Is the Tuskegee Study unique or are the same kind of tragedies happening all around us?"

  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.

    From the Role of Reporter

    Your main task is to look at the Tuskegee Study from the viewpoint of a newspaper reporter. Most importantly, your team is relying on you to be an expert on the facts and details involved in the study. Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions:

    1. What was the purpose of the study?

    2. What reason were the men given for the tests and treatment they received?

    3. What was the attitude of the men to the doctors?

    4. What important discovery took place that the doctors did not tell the men about?

    5. If you were writing the lead story on the Tuskegee Study, what would you focus on, what would be your angle?

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 a real world task like sending an email message or creating a presentation or media campaign.

The Master Chef Trick*

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

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

Note: The links used in this "Getting WebQuests" activity have been updated, however, the links in the actual WebQuest are over 15 years old so many are broken. I keep the site online as an example. If you are interested in using it with students, please make contact and I'll see what can be done. There are great, more interactive and video-based resources that could be used.

Updated 15 April, 2020
© 2020 Tom March