Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests
Teacher’s Guide to The Dolphins of Bais
This webquest encourages students to apply what they learned in Unit IV of the Science 1 curriculum, which is on “Living Things and Their Environment”. The specific unit objectives that this webquest targets are:
1. Understand the highly organized structure of living organisms (in this case, dolphins)
1.1 Identify important characteristics of living organisms (in this case, dolphins)
2. Understand the interactions between living and non-living things (in this case, between dolphins and other organisms, and between dolphins and their environment)
3. Show how humans disturb the interrelationship among organisms and between organisms and their environment (in particular, how human activities pose a threat to the dolphins)
4. Show how humans maintain/restore the integrity/balance of an ecosystem (through dolphin conservation efforts)
At the same time, the webquest teaches students how to:
1. Use the World Wide Web as a learning resource;
2. Use email to connect with experts;
3. Conduct an interview following an interview plan;
4. Write a report;
5. Work cooperatively and collaboratively in order to produce quality student output; and
6. Assess their own work and those of their peers.
The webquest should be conducted towards the end of the unit on living things and their environment, after the basic lessons of the unit have been completed. This is because the webquest is a specific application of what has been learned in this unit.
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 for each step. Your schedule should be such that the webquest is completed in five consecutive weeks, not spread out over a long period. This is to ensure a focused interest in the project.
3. Prepare a list of local experts on dolphins whom your students can consult in Step 3 of the webquest (e.g., research centers, the Marine Biology department of universities, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, environmental groups). You may include experts who are not based locally but whom you and your students can contact by email. Be sure to get office addresses, contact numbers, and email addresses. You may need to write a letter to each of these experts to request that they accommodate your students’ requests for an interview during Step 3. In your letter, explain the objectives of the webquest and be specific about the kind of information you and your students need from them.
4. Prepare the materials 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).
5. 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 2-3 and possibly Step 5).
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 five 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.
Schedule a class session at the computer center to allow students to access the websites listed in the Resources section.
At this point, students will be collecting information from experts as well as from books, scientific magazines, and websites. You should have distributed to the groups the list of experts and their contact numbers prior to this step. Encourage students to locate sources of information other than those provided.
Ask the students from time to time about the progress they are making in this step. Make yourself available for consultations and encourage students to approach you for assistance at any time during the two weeks for data gathering.
Remind students of the time allotted for this step and make sure that they keep to the schedule.
Remind students when they should do this step, following the schedule you agreed on beforehand.
To help students complete this step, schedule a special class session (at least three hours but preferably the whole day) on a Saturday. This means all of the groups will meet in the classroom to do this step on that Saturday, and that you will be there to facilitate the group discussions of their work if necessary.
As students consolidate their group reports, remind them to consult or be guided by the rubric for scoring the group report.
You might also encourage groups to encode their reports using whatever word processing software is available at the computer center. In this case, you and the Center Manager should provide the necessary tutorial on use of the software.
Collect the group outputs on the due date.
Congratulate your students for completing the webquest and do a brief (10-15 minutes) synthesis of the lessons learned.
Immediately after the group outputs have been submitted, 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 rubric, 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.
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