This WebQuest was developed to support the CREST project at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The CREST project at UTSA is a federally funded project that is focused on a) giving students from low-income communities access to high quality WebQuests and b) giving their teachers access to an intensive model of professional development on how to incorporate critical reading strategies (CREST) into their teaching.
Students are challenged to apply the characteristics of living and nonliving animals. Students will also classify objects as being a plant or animal and explain the characteristics of each. As a part of a group, they will gain an understanding of the different living and nonliving objects and plants and animals. The students will gather information about plants and animals and come together to share the knowledge they have gained. Using the format of a research journal, students will be able to analyze the information collected and construct an authentic perspective about the characteristics of living and nonliving objects as well as plant and animals.
This WebQuest was constructed for 2nd grade students as they cover the topics of living and nonliving objects and characteristics of plants and animals. Before setting off on their quest students need to be comfortable with :
1. Using a computer
2. Navigating the internet
3. Working with Internet resources
4. Taking notes from electronic sources and collecting data
5. Setting a purpose for reading
6. Synthesizing information across resources
7. Collaborating with their peers on a project
Students will work in groups, made up of 4 people. Within those groups they will pick a partner to take on the role of a Botanist or a Zoologist. The groups challenge is to identify objects as living and nonliving and as plant or animal. Their research journal must give supporting descriptions of why they think the object is a plant or an animal. Students will collaborate, each contributing information based on their expertise of plants or animals. Each object should be described in their research journal along with their characteristics. They will gain expertise in either plants or animals by conducting research, using resources on the Internet, and print resources from the library.
Students will be divided into 4-person groups by the teacher or in a manner that the teacher believes gives different strengths and abilities to each group. Within their own group students will decide whether they will take the role of a Botanist or a Zoologist but the teacher may facilitate this choosing.
The essential task should be kept in mind.
The Scientists from Louisiana need help in identifying mysterious objects left by hurricane Katrina.
Teacher information written in bold lettering: For the first part of this webquest you will review the introduction, task and step 1 process as a whole group. You will not need to be in a computer lab if you have access to an LCD projector and a computer.
Step 1: (1 day) You and your teacher are going to visit a website that will help to explain the characteristics of living and nonliving things. During this time you and your partner will complete the living and nonliving charts. You will also visit another site to help you review your charts for accuracy. You will find your living and nonliving chart here and on the resources page. You will want to print the charts ahead of time. These sites give specific descriptions of what living and nonliving means. You will want to go through each page and help your students to complete the charts. None of the pages describe nonliving explicitly. You will have to discuss with your students that if nonliving is the opposite of living then the characteristics will be the opposite also. You will need to save these pages or have the students save them where they can get to them again. They will use these sheets throughout the quest.
Step 2: (1 day) Teachers:
Step 3: (1 day)
You and your partner have decided to become either a Botanist or a Zoologist. In order to become a Botanist you will need to become an expert in plants. If you want to become a Zoologist you will need to become an expert in animals. For this part of your training you will need to learn some information about plants and animals. You and your partner will need to work together to complete the training sheets to become an expert in plants or animals. You will use the links provided on your training sheet to guide you. You will find the Botanist Training Sheet and the Zoologist Training Sheet here and on the resources page. This part of the webquest will need to take place in a computer lab setting. The "training sheets" have the links they will need to answer the questions. However, if your students do not have experience with flipping back and forth from a document to a site, then you will want to print the sheets and have your students use the links available in the resources page. Each set of partners will need 1 'training sheet" based upon their chosen role. You will want to review the questions and sites prior to student use. Some of the answers to the questions are not explicitly given.
Step 4: (1 days) Teachers:
Mini-lesson on classifying and categorizing
Congratulations!! You have now completed your training to become a Jr. Scientist. Now it is time to get to work. The scientists in Louisiana need you to help them identify these mysterious objects that have appeared in the Wetlands along the coast. They have sent you a message along with the pictures of the objects that they need help identifying. The scientist have sent you an identification chart to guide you. Each object will need to be classified as living or nonliving. If it is living, then as Botanists and Zoologists you will need to distinguish if the object is a plant or an animal. To do this you will look at the chart and discuss the findings with your group. Once you have determined whether the object is a plant or animal you will need to prove why it is either a plant or an animal by listing the objects characteristics in the research journal. Remember you will be giving the research journal to the scientists in Louisiana. Be sure to look at each picture carefully and record your information in the research journal. You can use your training sheets and classification chart to help you. You will find your Identification Chart and Research Journal here and on the resources page. For this part of the quest view the message from the scientist as a whole group. Students will need to have access to one computer for every group of 4. The students will then view the pictures with their group on the computer to determine the objects classification. Each group will need 1 "Identification Chart" and 1 " Research Journal". Students do not need to be on a computer to complete the research journal. This can be completed in the classroom. You will want to have their handouts printed ahead of time. Remind students they can use their living/nonliving chart, classification chart and training sheets to help them. There are only 6 objects to classify so it shouldn't take that long.
As a group you will need to look at your Identification Chart and Research Journal to make sure you have completed each one thoroughly. Before your group submits its findings to the scientists in Louisiana, ask yourselves these questions:
- Have we worked cooperatively as a group?
- Have we thoroughly completed our Identification Chart ?
- Have we thoroughly completed our Research Journal?
- Did we give the objects characteristics?
- Did we provide a 4 sentence description?
- What have we learned about living and nonliving objects? About plants? About animals? About being a Botanist or Zoologist? About ourselves? About our group members? About working in groups?
The amount of time allotted is roughly 4-5 class periods with some work outside the classroom. Flexibility is definitely needed for students who are inexperienced with using a computer to gain information. Time is also dependent on the number of computers students have access to and how comfortable students are with researching on the internet.
Some of the resources needed to carry out this WebQuest are:
- Computer with Internet Access for every 2 students
- Electronic resources for student research
- Scissors, glue, pencils
Living Chart (1 for every set of partners) Nonliving Chart (1 for each set of partners) Classification Chart (1 for each set of partners) Pictures (1 for each set of partners) Botanist Training Sheet (1 for each set of partners that chose partners) Zoologist Training Sheet (1 for each set of partners that chose partners) Message From Scientist (1 for each group) Identification Chart (1 for each group) Research Journal (1 for each group) Rubric (1 for each student)
You will be evaluated on the following:
- Individual and group participation and collaboration
- Knowledge of living and nonliving objects
- Knowledge of plant characteristics
- Knowledge of animal characteristics
- Description of objects in 4 sentences
- Preparedness of Research Journal
See rubric in the resource tab for more details.
The scientist in Louisiana just received your Identification Charts and Research Journals and would like to say "Thank You!"for all the hard work you have done. You all deserve a great amount of recognition. They hope that we have all learned something despite the terrible damage that Hurricane Katrina has left in Louisiana. They are confident that if they ever needed help again they would know exactly where to go.
What a great accomplishment!! Good job and congratulations!!