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Social Studies WebQuest Examples

Instructor: Natalie Kachnowski

Natalie is an experienced English Language Arts educator with a passion for books, games, and skiing.

The Internet is full of resources, but students are not always proficient at navigating it. WebQuests are a great way for students to explore a topic online while giving them a guiding hand to ensure credible information is covered.

WebQuests in the Classroom

WebQuests are typically used to introduce a topic or guide student inquiry using various online resources. It allows students to learn at their own pace and explore a variety of resources, while ensuring that what they learn meets your lesson objective. You can create your own WebQuest or use one of the many already available online at sites such as Teach-nology.com and Scholastic.com.

WebQuests can address almost any topic. For example, you could create a WebQuest covering the events leading up to, during, and following the stock market crash of 1929. The resources might include photos and videos of breadlines, as well as an analysis of the market prior to the crash. Another WebQuest example could introduce the Civil War with a virtual field trip to the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, supplemented by resources covering what the battle itself was like and diaries of soldiers.

Designing a WebQuest

WebQuests typically include six key elements:

1. Introduction

The introduction gives background information on the activity/topic.

2. Task

The task lays out the purpose of the WebQuest and what students are expected to complete. Since the ultimate goal of a WebQuest is to have students investigate and build connections between the resources they're exploring, the best WebQuests include analysis or higher-level thinking questions.

3. Resources

The resources are where the students will locate the information needed to complete the task. Sometimes the resources are included in the Procedure rather than on their own.

4. Procedure

The procedure is the lengthiest piece, which provides a step-by-step guide for completion of the task. The procedure should provide a clear description of exactly what students should do to complete the task.

5. Evaluation

The evaluation shows how the task will be evaluated usually using a rubric.

6. Conclusion

The conclusion summarizes what you want students to learn from the activity.

A WebQuest Example

Following is an example of a WebQuest developed as an introduction to World War II as part of a U.S. History class.

Introduction

World War I was deemed 'the war to end all wars,' and yet, less than a decade later, the world was involved in another, bloodier war. Through this WebQuest, you will look at the events leading up to World War II and explore the connection between America's economy and the start of the war.

Task

Your task is to conduct research on the aftereffects of World War I, the events leading up to World War II, and America's influence in the beginning of World War II. Your final task is to compose a paragraph describing how America directly impacted the beginning of World War II despite its late entry into the war itself.

Procedure

1. Read about the after effects of World War I.

Start with this site on the Treaty of Versailles (website address). After you have completed the reading, explain in 3 - 5 sentences why the Germans felt the Treaty was unfair and how this might have influenced Hitler and the Nazi party's rise to power.

2. Look into how America's economy influenced the war.

The Great Depression impacted countries around the world (website address). When you've finished that reading, summarize in 3 - 5 sentences how Japan and Germany were directly or indirectly impacted by the American economy.

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