Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests
Teacherís Guide to Medicinal Plants
This webquest helps students integrate the following lessons on Biodiversity (Unit IV) in the Science 2 curriculum: characteristics of living things, classification of living things, potential value of organisms, and conservation of economically important organisms.
The specific learning competencies that the webquest aims to develop are:
1. Describe the distinguishing characteristics of plants;
2. Classify plants according to the different levels of classification; and
3. Evaluate the medicinal importance of plants.
At the same time, the webquest aims to teach students how to:
1. Use the World Wide Web as a learning resource;
2. Use email to connect with experts;
3. Conduct an interview based on 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.
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-four consecutive weeks, not spread out over a long period. This is to ensure a focused interest in the project.
3. Identify the barangays that you will assign to the different groups. Do not include farflung barangays. Choose those that are easily accessible to students. You will assign one barangay per group. The assignment can be random (e.g., having group representatives draw lots) or purposive (assigning a barangay to a group in which one member has relatives).
4. Prepare a list of experts that the chemists in the each group can consult regarding the pharmacological properties of the medicinal plants they are reporting onóin case the information cannot be found in books and websites. You may include experts who are not based locally but whom you and your students can contact by email (for example, experts at the Traditional Medicine Unit of the Department of Health). 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 2b 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.
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 Step 2b and Step 3).
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 seven 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.
And then, using your method of choice (see recommended methods above), assign each group a barangay to focus their study on.
Schedule a class session at the computer center for your 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 at the computer center during their vacant period and in Internet cafes after school hours.
This step is best done on a Saturday. Remind groups to bring the materials they need for this field visit (e.g., notebooks, pens, camera). Remind them to get their parentsí permission before going to the barangay.
Monitor student progress through this step by asking the groups during class sessions whether they have looked up the scientific names of the medicinal plants they found in Step 2b.
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 checklist 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 reports on the due date, and congratulate your students for completing the webquest. Do a short (10 minutes) synthesis of the lessons learned.
Finally, 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 checklist, 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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