Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests
Teacher’s Guide to Bridges
This is intended as a supplementary activity to lessons on force, specifically the concepts of stress and strain. The aim is to have students recognize and appreciate how these concepts, and by extension other concepts in physics, work in real life—in this case in bridges.
The learning competencies that this activity taps into and develops further are:
1. Recognize bridges as an examples from the immediate environment showing the relevance of Physics to everyday life
2. Understand stress and strain as applied in technology, specifically bridges:
2.1 Differentiate between stress and strain
2.2 Use the elasticity property in choosing construction materials
The webquest also teaches students how to:
1. Use the World Wide Web as a learning resource;
2. Conduct interviews based on an interview plan;
3. Write a report;
4. Use word processing software;
5. Work cooperatively and collaboratively in order to produce quality student output; and
6. Assess their own work and those of their peers.
Before starting on the webquest:
1. Make sure that you are thoroughly familiar with all of the components of the webquest.
2. Prepare a work plan, in which you indicate the inclusive dates for the various steps in the webquest process. The time allotment for each step in the webquest process is indicated in the Process section. But you need to identify the actual dates covered. Your schedule should be such that the webquest is completed in four consecutive weeks, not spread out over a long period. This is to ensure a focused interest in the project.
3. Identify the bridges that you will assign to the groups. Choose bridges that are easily accessible to your students. If there are more groups than bridges, assign two groups to work on one bridge.
4. Coordinate with offices from whom your students will need data on the bridges assigned to them, such as the Municipal or City Engineer’s Office and the local Department of Public Works and Highways, in order that your students’ requests for information will be accommodated. You might have write a letter, endorsed by your principal, explaining the webquest and detailing the kind of information your students will need from these offices.
5. Prepare the materials that you will need to distribute to students during the orientation session, such as copies of the webquest (print the printer-friendly version of the webquest, which is marked with a printer icon on the webquest index page of the sourcebook).
6. Coordinate with the Center Manager the use of the computer center (this is one reason why a work plan is needed) and let him/her know of any technical assistance you might need (especially for Steps 2 and 6).
For every step in the webquest, here are the things that you need to do:
Orient your class to the webquest. It is recommended that you give a print copy of the webquest to each group. You can also do the orientation in the computer center, where groups can read the electronic or soft copy of the webquest on a computer assigned to them.
Carefully go over the Task and Evaluation sections of the webquest with your students. And then go over the Process. Encourage students to ask clarificatory questions and be ready to provide answers.
Form groups of six members each, using the grouping method you decided on prior to starting the webquest. Make sure that there is a mix of abilities in each group.
Give the groups time to decide on the distribution of roles among them. Make sure that the assignment of roles is by consensus among the group members. No one member should decide which roles the other members will play, to ensure that all members will be motivated to participate in the activity.
Assign each group one bridge to focus on. You can do this by writing the names of the bridges on slips of paper, and then having group representatives pick one slip each.
Schedule two class sessions at the computer center for your students to access the websites listed in the Resources section. They may also access these websites from Internet cafes after school if they need to.
Remind the students to complete their background research within one week.
It is not necessary for you to chaperone your students on their trips to the City or Municipal Engineer’s Office as well as other offices, provided you have communicated ahead to these office and secured their cooperation in this project.
Remind students to get their parents’ permission before they go on these “field visits” and to exercise caution on their trips. Other tips for students are given under Step 3 of the webquest Process section. It is important that you help students plan these visits to offices and other sources of information. Your aim is to help students do this step in a strategic, rather than haphazard and inefficient, manner.
To keep students on track, periodically ask about how much progress they are making in their data gathering when you meet them in class. Encourage them to report to you frequently and seek your guidance.
This step should be completed in two weeks.
Steps 4 and 5
Remind students to discuss the data they have gathered and to draft their group report immediately, while the data is fresh in their minds. Be strict about the two-day allotment for this step.
To help students complete this step in the webquest process, schedule a special class session (at least three hours but preferably the whole day) at the computer center on a Saturday. If you are doing this webquest with more than one section, schedule the work of each section on different Saturdays (one section per Saturday).
Coordinate the use of the computer center with the Center Manager. In addition, you and the Center Manager should provide technical assistance as the groups encode the text of their reports, scan photos, and layout the whole report using whatever word processing software is available at the center.
As they finalize their presentations, remind the students to consult or be guided by the scoring checklist given in the Evaluation section of the webquest.
It may be possible to collect the finished group reports at the end of the special session for Step 6. If not, set the deadline for submission of finished work. The deadline should be within the following week, or even just two days later, since this is just a matter of putting the finishing touches on the report.
Collect the group reports on the due date, congratulate your students for completing the webquest, and then do a short (10 minutes) synthesis of lessons learned.
Upon collecting the group reports, distribute copies of the self-assessment and peer evaluation forms for students to fill in. This is individual work. Each student should therefore have a copy of the forms. An alternative is to write out each form on a piece of manila paper and post these in the classroom for students to copy. The students can simply write their answers to the forms on a piece of paper.
After the webquest (when all group outputs and accomplished student self-assessment and peer evaluation forms have been submitted):
1. Evaluate the group outputs using the scoring guide or checklist, assign points to the self-assessment and peer evaluation, and compute each student’s final grade or score for the webquest.
2. Let everyone know his/her score for the project.
Copyright 2004 by the Foundation for IT Education & Development. All rights reserved.