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


VOLUNTEERISM - A Gift of Kindness: A WebQuest for Fourth Year High School (English)

Authored by J. Garde and P. Arinto

Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” Have you said something nice to someone today? Have you done someone a good turn? If you have, then you would know the feeling—a sense of fulfillment and peace.

There are people like Mother Teresa who devote their whole lives to performing acts of kindness. They do so without expectation of anything in return. They seem to find happiness and fulfillment in easing the suffering of others.

Who are these people? What makes them the way they are? Would you like to be one of them?

The Task
The search is on for the 10 most outstanding volunteer workers of the century.

You are tasked with submitting to the Search Committee a research report (also known as a term paper) on volunteers from various countries. Your research report should be about the life and work of a volunteer—his/her family and educational background, the political and socio-cultural influences on the volunteer, his/her volunteer work through the years, his/her motivations.

From your reports of volunteer workers will be chosen the 10 most outstanding volunteer workers of the century. Moreover, all research reports will be published in a website to be made available to young people in order that the spirit of volunteerism may catch on.

1. You will work in groups of three. Each group will be assigned a volunteer or group of volunteers to report about. Each member of the group has a specific role or function, to be chosen from the following:

Role Responsibilities
Writer 1 1.Research on the socio-cultural background (e.g., date and place of birth, family background, growing up years, educational background) of the volunteer assigned to the group; and
2.Write this section of the group’s research report, complete with in-text documentation of sources of information used.
Writer 2 1.Research on the volunteer work of the volunteer chosen by the group, including who he/she has worked with, why, for what purpose or goal, and the impact of his/her work; and
2.Write this section of the group’s research report, complete with in-text documentation of sources of information used.
Editor 1.Write the introduction and conclusion of the group’s research report (the introduction must include the meaning of volunteerism);
2.Collect the photos that will complement the information provided by the two writers, write the captions, and decide on where in the research report the photos should be placed;
3.Ensure a cohesive flow among the various parts of the report; provide transition sentences or paragraphs, as needed, between the sections written by the two writers; and
4.Ensure that all sources are documented and that the list of works cited is complete.

2. Once each member of your group has chosen his/her role and you are all in agreement about this, do the background reading using the resources listed below (under “Resources”). Your background reading will be on the topics, volunteerism and term paper writing. Your teacher will also discuss these topics with you in class.

You should complete the background reading in 1 week.

3. When the background reading is done, you are ready to do your individual research work, focusing on the parts of the report assigned to you. Look for information in books, magazines, and online resources (websites). Be sure to take down notes properly and to document your sources.

You must complete your individual research work in 1 week.

4. Once you have all of the information you need for your part/section of the group research report, write the draft of your section. Observe the rules of grammar and effective writing. Make use of the MLA documentation format for citing sources. Type your draft as a document file (using MS Word or StarWriter).

Aside from drafting the introduction and conclusion, the editor should scan the photographs he/she has collected and save these as image files (.jpeg files).

All group members should complete their drafts in 1 week. Writers 1 and 2 should turn over electronic and print copies of the drafts of their section to the editor at the end of 1 week.

A Special Note About Plagiarism

Plagiarism is passing off as your own something that someone else said or wrote. It takes many forms, including failing to cite the source of a piece of information, whether the information is quoted or paraphrased; copying word-for-word something someone else wrote but without using quotation marks; and paraphrasing a source but failing to acknowledge him/her.

Plagiarism is both immoral and illegal. NEVER PLAGIARIZE.

Here are online resources about what plagiarism is and how to avoid doing it:

5. Working with the electronic files, the editor will now put together all of the sections of the report, ensuring that there is a smooth flow from one section to the next. Aside from making use of transition signals, the editor can reorganize paragraphs and sentences to ensure cohesion. The editor should place the photographs he/she has gathered in the appropriate portions of the report and make sure that there is proper documentation of sources, including a list of works cited at the end of the report. Follow the format for term paper writing.

The editor has 3 days to do all of the above.

6. Meet as a group to go over the complete report put together by the editor. Use the rubric (given under the “Evaluation” section below) to guide you in reviewing your group report. Make sure no part of the report is plagiarized. As a group, revise the report as needed (working with the electronic file). You have two days to do this.

Submit a print and electronic copy of your final report to your teacher on the due date.

7. Write a one-page essay about what attitudes, values, and skills you have learned in this project. Submit this essay to your teacher on the due date.

8. Fill in the peer evaluation form and submit this to your teacher on the due date.


Here are online resources you can consult in the process of doing your background reading. This is not a comprehensive list; it does not include websites on specific volunteers. You are expected to look for references (online and print) on the volunteer assigned to your group, on your own.

The Term Paper

Term Paper Writing

IPL Teenspace : A+ Research

MLA Approach to Term Paper Writing

APA Approach to Term Paper Writing


Definition of volunteerism

Why volunteerism

School volunteer programs

Volunteer experiences


Your group research report or term paper will be graded using the scoring guide below. For each item, you will receive a score from the following scoring range:


6 = exceeds expectations     5 = strong                  4 = competent                 
3 = developing                        2 = emergent            1 = not yet



_____Catches the reader’s attention

_____Gives the necessary background information such as a definition of terms

_____States the focus of the research report and its thesis or main/central idea

_____Is written grammatically


Body of the report part 1: Socio-cultural background of the volunteer       

_____Provides complete or detailed biographical information about the volunteer, including date and place of birth, family and educational background and/or formative influences, date and place of death if applicable
_____Presents information in a well organized way
_____Is written in an engaging way or in a way that elicits and sustains the reader’s interest
_____Is written grammatically


Body of the report part 2: Work of the volunteer    

_____Provides complete or detailed information on the volunteer work of the featured volunteer, including what inspired the volunteer to do this kind of work, when he/she started, who helped him/her, the beneficiaries of the volunteer’s work, and the impact of the volunteer’s work
_____Presents information in a well organized way
_____Is written in an engaging way or in a way that elicits and sustains the reader’s interest
_____Is written grammatically



_____Draws reasonable or logical implications from the information presented in the body of the paper
_____Restates the thesis for emphasis
_____Brings the paper to a satisfying close
_____Is written grammatically



_____Includes at least three photos
_____Photos included are relevant as proven by the captions
_____Photos are clear
_____Photos are well positioned


Documentation of sources     

_____At least five sources are used
_____Sources used are credible and appropriate
_____Sources of borrowed information (whether quoted or paraphrased) are properly documented in the body of the paper
_____The list of sources or works cited is complete and written in the correct format


Add your score for all of the items and then divide it by 24. For example, if your score for all items is 108, divide this by 24 and you get 4.5. This means that your work is between competent and strong. Since this is a group project, all group members will receive the same score for the biographical essay.


Important reminder: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Any sign or evidence of plagiarism in your group research report or term paper, in whatever section of it, will result in a failing grade for you and your group.


Your essay on what your learned in this project and the evaluation of your work by your peers or group mates will be graded separately. Your final individual grade for this project will be computed as follows:


            Group research report/term paper (70% of final project grade)
            Individual essay (15% of final project grade)
            Peer evaluation (15% of final project grade)


At the end of the grading period, you will have come up with a term paper that is enriched by the use of both library and Internet resources. You will also have enhanced your writing skills.


Equally important is the fact that the knowledge that you have gathered and communicated individually and collectively will give you a better insight into the values one must have in life in order that the world we live in can become a happy place for all of us. In doing this term paper on volunteerism, you learned not only about term paper writing but also about other aspects of life that are worthwhile and enduring.


Volunteerism is best expressed in the song that goes this way, "He ain't heavy. He's my brother."