Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests

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The Dolphins of Bais: A Webquest for First Year High School (Science)

Authored by S. Adana and P. Arinto


Introduction
Every town has something it is proud of. In Bais, we are proud of the fact that we have dolphins living near our shores. Why are we proud of this?

Well, dolphins are said to be one of the most intelligent animals on earth. They navigate by following the hills and mountains of the ocean floor, by tracking the sun, by sensing currents, and by tasting the water along the journey. Dolphins are also a beautiful sight to behold, as they swim fast, jump out of the water, and make somersaults in the air. They are very large but gentle creatures.

Dolphins are mammals, just like us. Mammals living in water? Wow. How do they do that? That’s one of the things we will find out in this webquest. We will also find out why they have chosen to live near us, charming us with their presence and serving as one of the greatest attractions in this part of the world. And we will contribute to dolphin conservation efforts because, like many animals in the sea, dolphins are being endangered by pollution and other human activities.

Task
The Dolphin Conservation Society is asking you to help protect the dolphins in the Tañon Strait by writing a report that will help more people appreciate them. In this report, you will:

• identify what kind of dolphins can be found in the Tañon Strait (the species), describe their characteristics, and compare them to other dolphin species (Part 1 of your report);
• discuss the threats to the dolphins and how these threats can be eliminated (Part 2 of your report); and
• include a map, photographs and/or drawings (art work) of the dolphins.

To find out how to complete your task, read the Process section of this webquest.

Process
1. Each of you will be assigned to a group with 5 members. Each group member has a specific role to play. The roles are:

Two (2) Marine Biologists
- Interview a marine biologist and/or an environmentalist about what kind of dolphins can be found in the Tañon Strait.
- Look for information about the dolphins in the Tañon Strait and other dolphin species to which they can be compared.
- Write Part 1 of the group report, which is a description of the dolphin species that can be found in the Tañon Strait with a comparison with other dolphin species.

Two (2) Conservationists
- Find out the threats to the health and safety of dolphins in the Tañon Strait by interviewing local conservationists and possibly the fisher folk who are familiar with the dolphins.
- Do research on dolphin conservation methods and approaches.
- Write Part 2 of the group report.

One (1) Artist
- Draw a map of the habitat of the dolphins of the Tañon Strait.
- Get photographs (from websites or books) of the dolphins in the Tañon Strait OR make drawings of the dolphins.
- Write captions for the photos or drawings.

As a group decide on who will take on each role.

2. Once you know your roles, read the websites listed in the Resources section. These will provide you with some of the information about dolphins that you need for your report. But do not limit yourself to the online resources given. Look for other websites, as well as books and magazine articles about dolphins as well.

You have two weeks to do this step. Everyone in the group will do this step.

3. Armed with background information about dolphins, the Marine Biologists in the group as well as the Conservationists can do the interviews of local experts.

The Marine Biologists can interview scientists at Silliman University, for example, as well as other people who are studying the dolphins in the Tañon Strait (perhaps at the local Department of Environment and Natural Resources). You can do this interview by email if it is difficult to do a face-to-face interview. Your teacher will help you find the experts to interview.

The Conservationists can interview local environmentalists and fisher folk who are familiar with the dolphins about what they observe to be the threats facing the dolphins.

Prepare your interview questions in advance. During the interview, introduce yourselves and your purpose. Be courteous and pay attention. And be sure to take down notes if the interview is face-to-face.

The Artist in the group can accompany the other group members as they do the interviews so that he/she will gain familiarity with the subject matter and derive some information and inspiration for his/her artwork. Or he/she could ask the experts being interviewed for photos of the dolphins that they might have.

The interviews should be completed within two weeks at the most. Very likely you will do the face-to-face interviews on a Saturday.

4. With the information you gathered while doing Steps 2 and 3, you should be ready to write your report. The Marine Biologists will write Part 1 while the Conservationists will write Part 2. The Artist will complete the map, photos and/or drawings, and write the captions for these.

You have three days to do this step.

5. Meet as a group and show each other the parts of the report that you have written. Improve each part and then put the whole report together. In doing this, be guided by the rubric found in the Evaluation section of this webquest.

Your teacher may decide to have you do this step in one class session or during a special class session on a Saturday.

6. Submit your group report to your teacher on the due date.

7. Fill in the self-assessment form and peer evaluation form and submit these to your teacher on the due date.

Resources 

Dolphin Facts
http://www.wcug.wwu.edu/~narf/dolp/geninfo.shtml (dophins in general; also has links to species info on the left)
http://library.thinkquest.org/17963/anatomy.html (click on the links on the left to access illustrations)
http://library.thinkquest.org/17963/behaviour.html (click on the links on the left to get detailed information on dolphin behavior)
http://www.bluevoice.org/dolphin/facts.html
http://www.dolphinsmiles.com/General.htm (click on the topics)
http://www.dolphins.org/ (dolphin fun facts for kids)
http://www.dolphinear.com/de-dolfaq.htm (click on the questions)

Dolphins Species
http://library.thinkquest.org/17963/ev-tax-spp.html (about the evolution and taxonomy of dolphins; click on the links on the left)
http://www.everythingdolphins.com/SpeciesPG.htm (click on the dolphin names to access a fact sheet about each species)
http://www.cetacea.org/dolphins.htm  (click on the species name to get information on the species)
http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/index.html (click on the species names on the left side to get to the fact sheets)

Threats to Dolphins
http://library.thinkquest.org/17963/threats.html
http://www.dolphin-institute.org/resource_guide/conservation.htm
http://mammj.bournemouth.ac.uk/News6/dolphins.html
http://www.southwest.com.au/~kirbyhs/pinkdolphins.html

Dolphin Conservation
http://library.thinkquest.org/17963/conservation.html
http://www.dolphinsmiles.com/conservation.htm
http://www.friendsoftheocean.org/si_dolphin.htm

Impressionistic Accounts of Dolphin Sightings in Bais/the Tañon Strait
http://alfred-bruckner.tripod.com/visayas/id9.html
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ceb/2003/02/02/life/wind.blown.in.bais.html

Evaluation
Below is a rubric showing how your group report will be graded.
 
  Beginning (1 pt.) Developing (3 pts.) Accomplished (5 pts.)
Part 1 of the Report: Description of dolphins in the Tañon Strait

The species of dolphins in the Tañon Strait is not identified..
AND
The description of the dolphins in the Tañon Strait is lacking or is not detailed enough. AND
There is no comparison of the dolphins in the Tañon Strait to dolphin species found in other parts of world.

The dolphin species found in the Tañon Strait is identified but the description and the comparison to other dolphins species is incomplete/lacking some important details.
OR
The dolphin species found in the Tañon Strait is not clearly identified but there is a detailed description and there is a comparison to other dolphin species in other parts of the world.

The dolphin species found in the Tañon Strait is clearly identified.
AND
The description of the dolphins in the Tañon Strait is detailed and comprehensive.
AND
There is a good comparison of the dolphins in the Tañon Strait with two or more dolphin species in other parts of the world.

Part 2 of the Report: Threats to dolphins’ existence and some dolphin conservation strategies

No threats to the dolphins’ continued existence are identified or the threats identified are not specific to the Tañon Strait.
AND
No dolphin conservation efforts are presented.

The threats to the dolphins are specific to the Tañon Strait but not enough dolphin conservation efforts are presented.
OR
Dolphin conservation efforts are presented but the threats to dolphins that are identified are not specific enough or are lacking.

Threats to the dolphins in the Tañon Strait are clearly identified.
AND
Dolphin conservation efforts are clearly presented.

Pictures (photographs/art works) of dolphins The artworks/ photographs are not clear and attractive. The artworks/photographs are clear but do not always contribute to the understanding of the topic. The artworks/ photographs are clear and attractive and they all contribute to the understanding of the topic.
Mechanics

The sources of information used in the report are not stated.
AND
There are too many grammatical errors in the report.

The sources of information are indicated but they are not listed using the proper format.
AND
There are some noticeable grammatical errors in the report.

The sources of information are listed using the proper format.
AND
There are few grammatical errors in the report.


You will also receive points for your self-assessment and the evaluation of your peers or group mates. Your final grade for the webquest will be computed as follows:
 
Item Percent of Grade
1. Group report 70%
2. Peer evaluation 15%
3. Self assessment 15%

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