WebQuests and STEM Challenges
What is a WebQuest?
A WebQuest is a relatively new teaching strategy. It is an inquiry-based lesson created for students. Students are on a quest, or journey, to find information from one or more websites. The websites are predetermined by the teacher or WebQuest creator.
Why Create a WebQuest?
Students are actively engaged while completing WebQuests. In fact, I have yet to find a student that doesn’t enjoy working with their peers to find the information required of them.
The websites are predetermined, so students aren’t on sites you don’t want them on. Valuable class time is saved because students aren’t searching for an appropriate website. For this reason, students have a greater chance of success!
How to Create a WebQuest
To create a WebQuest first, you must have a topic in mind. WebQuests can be used to introduce new knowledge, reinforce knowledge, or review a topic. Once you have the topic, you, as a teacher, search the internet to find student-friendly sites with the information you wish to impart. Using one predetermined website for students is a great way to start. Next, read through the information on the site and come up with questions that you want students to answer. There should be a variety of questions from finding facts to using critical thinking skills to answer the questions. Sometimes you may ask the students to draw a picture or create a graph based on something they have read.
To make the activity, you need to provide the students with a hyperlink or QR code to the website you want them to use. I write the website or put the QR code at the top of the worksheet I am creating. Then, list the questions you want the students to answer, leaving room for their responses.
What Does This Look Like in the Classroom?
Students work in cooperative groups to complete the WebQuest. I like to have my students work in pairs. I find this keeps them focused and sharing ideas. WebQuests also require some pretty good reading skills, so make sure to group students accordingly. Students sit together with one computer, go to the website, and complete the handout they have been given. As a result of you doing the groundwork ahead of time, you are free to facilitate by monitoring the students and answering any questions they may have.
How is STEM Incorporated into a WebQuest?
Typically, students are given a STEM challenge that requires them to use information that they have gathered from the WebQuest.
A Sample WebQuest
Below is a link to a WebQuest that is perfect for Thanksgiving. This is appropriate for third through fifth graders. The students will learn about wild turkeys and then complete a challenge that requires them to build a turkey that balances on a branch.
I would like to thank freepik.com for the photo at the beginning of this blog, and Meredith Anderson for the great photograph of the turkey on the fence!