Sunday, July 15, 2012


Inquiry-based learning is an instructional objective that can creatively be addressed through  webquests. Students are generally partnered up with peers OR assigned to small cooperative groups to complete the necessary research for the assigned task.  Since students must work on computers to do the work, their motivation is high! 

What does a webquest look like?  Here is one on volcanoes.  VOLCANO WEBQUEST
Teachers provide students with basically 5 key questions which can be easily be adapted to different English proficiency levels (as well as others with special needs).  The theme would still be the same, but students would take different routes to meet the demands of the task. This is inclusion in action!  Content is addressed with ease and language skills (including building academic vocabulary) are addressed. 

Below are the 5 questions from the webquest site on volcanoes:
  1. Where can you find volcanoes? Is there a pattern? Do volcanoes always happen in the same places?
  2.  What do volcanoes look like? What happens when they are active? What do dormant (sleeping) volcanoes look like?
  3.  How do volcanoes make igneous rocks? What role do volcanoes have in the rock cycle?
  4.  Do volcanoes change the shape of the earth? Are volcanoes important for making mountains?
  5.  How do volcanoes affect the lives of people around the world? How can volcanoes be good for people? Why do volcanoes kill people? Why do scientists study volcanoes?  
 As you can see from the questions, students would be able to tackle them with relative ease.  If ELLs are working in small teams, they will find built in support within the group.  If ELLs are working with students who have more English than they have, they will be able to access the content and complete the assigned task.  ELLs can discuss websites, pictures, writing, reading, etc. within the safety of their teams before the group makes its presentation to the class.

Rubrics will keep the students on track and hold them accountable to complete the assignment.  With each of these 3 rubrics, students are working towards doing their presentation on volcanoes:

Teams need to keep on track with the task.  Here they rate themselves.  Most students are generally honest with such evaluations.

From group evaluation to self evaluation.  Did the students feel that they personally fulfilled all the task requirements and how well did they do with the assignment?  Again, most students tend to if anything be harder on themselves than a teacher would be:)

This tool would be used by the class to evaluate the presentations of other students.

There are many links on the net to find already created webquests as well as sites that will guide you in designing your own.  In fact, Cheryl and I hope to lead a 3 hour institute at CABE (California Association of Bilingual Educators) in March of 2013 at the Long Beach Convention Center on WEBQUESTS and how they support COMMON CORE.


HP Touchsmart All-in-One 320-1030

No comments:

Post a Comment