created by Mim Baker
Orchard Hill Elementary
Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary
Picture this: you and a team of learners are presented with the task of describing an elephant. But instead of looking to an encyclopedia or a zoo exhibit, you are each blindfolded and guided to a real elephant. Each of you touches a different part of the animal: one, the soft and delicate tip of the elephant's trunk; another, the hard tusk of ivory; and a third, the wrinkled hide around the elephant's belly.
Based upon what each of you learned, one thinks an elephant is smooth and soft, another would say an elephant is smooth and hard, while the last would conclude that elephants are rough and soft. What's the truth? When we study complex topics, we are often like the elephant examiners: there's usually a lot more to a topic that we don't learn about after only a quick exploration.
This is particularly true when we use the Internet for our research because many people post their personal opinions or only know a sliver of the whole story. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about Colonial America. Each person on your team will learn one piece of the puzzle and then you will come together to get a better understanding of the topic.
In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about Colonial America. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.
You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.
Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.
- Children in Colonial America - Skim down to ?Resources? and click on Leisure Times and Games, Education for Boys and Girls, Historic Trades, or Food.
- The Colonial Period - You will find information about the land, climate, jobs, and people.
- Liberty Perspectives: Daily Life in the Colonies - Click on the objects in the picture. Learn about daily life in the Middle Colonies.
- Christmas Customs - Find out what Christmas customs people had in colonial Virginia.
- Life in Connecticut - View the pictures and information about life in Connecticut in the 1770's. Find out who Noah Webster was. View the pictures and information about life in Connecticut in the 1770's. Find out who Noah Webster was.
- Creating a Colony in the New Land - View photos of actual sites, see examples of clothes worn by colonists, read information to help you answer your questions.
1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.
2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.
3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.
4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.
role, job or perspective #1Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #1:
role, job or perspective #2Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #2:
role, job or perspective #3Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #3:
role, job or perspective #4Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #4:
You have all learned about a different part of Colonial America. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.
You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:
1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.
2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.
STATE THE TASK / QUEST(ION) AND YOUR GROUP'S ANSWER.
3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).
4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy.
Your Contact is: the designated contact
So is an elephant smooth, rough, soft, or hard? Well, when you're blindfolded and only *looking* at one part, it's easy to come up with an answer that may not be completely right. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as Colonial America: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of Colonial America could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.
Content by Mim Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last revised Thu Aug 2 4:12:10 US/Pacific 2001