Title: "Rocks & Minerals: How We Use Them & How We Get To Them"
Author: Alyssa Manning
This is a webquest for grades 3-5 students focused on the topic of rocks and minerals and their uses. It provides the opportunity for students to discover how rocks and minerals are obtained as well information on how people use these resources. In addition, the webquest provides a real life problem on which students need to choose a stance, a great way to tie in persuasive writing. The WebQuest was designed to meet several New York educational standards for science, but it would also hit several of the MI GLCES for science and writing, as well as some of the Common Core standards for language arts.
This webquest utilizes several effective teaching strategies. Students taking part in this webquest are engaging in active learning as well as critical thinking. They are presented with a problem and have to choose a side and create an argument to support their side based upon the information learned throughout the webquest. The students need to think critically about both sides so that their argument makes sense and achieves their goal.
The internet is the only real tool used in this webquest. Within the task list, there are 6 items for the students to complete. Four of the tasks are websites, one is a slideshow, and the final is a video. The websites could simply be printed and handed out, as could the slideshow, but having the variety of media really makes the technology an important and effective element in this project. There is also a document provided for the students to fill in, which is intended to be printed. I would probably upload as a Google doc, allowing my students to fill it in online. Some of the boxes are small, so keeping it online would allow students to write more than just a few words.
Nuts and Bolts
I felt the best way to learn about this WebQuest was to go through it as a student would. All of the links and images are functional and the site itself is visually pleasing. There is a placeholder for an image visible on the "Teacher Page", but it does not detract from the function of the page. Overall is clean and organized, making it very easy to navigate. Some of the process websites seem older, but the information on each is straightforward and valid. The slideshow included, however, was a little confusing. The questions from the student document don't align all that well with the information on the slideshow. For example, it asks for the first step in mining, but the slideshow doesn't specifically address the steps taken, there is more focus on the processing of the minerals.
I really enjoyed this webquest and look forward to using it in my class. I would suggest revising the questions about the slideshow, which I actually may do myself when I use this with my students. The resources and materials are very well suited for third grade students. It allows for discovery while still providing a structure to guide younger students.
WebQuest – Good job on the commentary for the Rocks webquest. I agree that this one could be fun for students. Were you put off by having the links after the sets of questions/directions? I found this distracting but I suppose it is because of the way the webquest site put things together.
Located at: http://webquest.org
Merlot Database Entry
Quality of Content:
WebQuest.org provides teachers with access to webquests created by other people. It also provides basic, introductory information for teachers about how to create a webquest for use in your own classroom. The information provided seems to be valid and correct.
With that being said, there isn't a lot of information that would be useful in my class without leaving the website. When you chose the "Find a Webquest" link, it brings you to a page that tells you about 4 different webpages that house webquests. The first one, a site through San Diego State University doesn't have a provided hyperlink. The next, QuestGarden, is a pay-for-use service. The most promising is the third, which is called the "Curriculum x Grade Level Matrix". It includes drop-down selections where you can select a subject area and age level. Unfortunately, however, there were no webquests for 3rd-5th grade, which was very disappointing. The final search method was a simple Google Search, which makes me wonder why one would need to visit WebQuest.org. Why not simply start at Google?
On top of that, the most recent news was posted in 2008, which indicated to me that this website has not been maintained much since. For such high reviews on MERLOT, I was disaapointed to see the quality of the information provided.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool:
While this website does provide some helpful information, namely explaining what a webquest is, it does not provide much more. For a resource that earned 5 stars through MERLOT, I had much higher expectations. I was hoping to find a database with usable resources that I could use in my classroom, but what I found instead was an outdated website that directs you to other websites for information. For other teachers hoping to use webquests in their classrooms, I would suggest that you skip this website and go straight to Google.
Stand-Alone Instructional Resource
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!