Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests
Teacherís Guide to Flora and Fauna of Lake Danao
This webquest helps students integrate lessons on Ecosystems (Unit II) and Biodiversity (Unit IV) in the Science 2 curriculum.
The specific learning objectives of these two units are:
1. Be aware of the similarities and differences of ecosystems
1.1 Differentiate natural from man-made ecosystems
1.2 Identify plant and animal life in ecosystems
2. Understand the role of human beings in maintaining balance in nature
2.1 Analyze the different environmental issues relevant to the community
2.2 Suggest ways of minimizing or preventing ecological problems
1. Appreciate the existence of diverse forms of living things
1.1 Describe the distinguishing characters of the different groups of organisms
2. Be aware of the potential value of organisms
2.2 Propose ways to conserve economically important organisms
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 using an interview plan or guide;
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 after the lessons in Unit IV have been completed. This is because the webquest is a specific application of what has been learned in this unit as well as in Unit II.
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 three 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 Lake Danaoís ecology and biodiversity and expertsí groups whom your students can consult in Step 3 of the webquest (e.g., research centers, the 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 studentsí requests for information during Step 3 of the webquest. 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 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).
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 Step 2 and possibly Steps 4-5).
For every step in the webquest, here are the things 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 eight 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. Remind the students to complete their background research within one week. They can continue the online research in the computer center during their vacant period and in Internet cafes after school hours.
Get the principal and parentsí permission to bring your students on a field trip to Lake Danao. Make all of the necessary arrangements (e.g., transport, appointment with the Lake administrators). And brief your students on appropriate behavior during the field trip. Devise a system for ensuring the safety of each student (e.g., a buddy system).
At the lake site, move among the student groups to check on their progress in data gathering.
Remind students to do this step immediately after the field trip, when the data is fresh in their minds. The photographers of the groups may need access to the computer lab scanner and the computers. Facilitate access for them.
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 then 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 studentís final grade or score for the webquest.
2. Let everyone know his/her score for the project.
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