About Julie Coiro 

Internet Webquests

1. What is a Webquest?
2. Why use webquests with students?
3. How can webquests tie in with my current curriculum?
4. Is there an index of webquests?
5. Where can I find a template to create my own webquest?
6. How should I begin developing an idea for a webquest?

What is a Webquest?
Bernie Dodge, the original designer, describes a webquest as "an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation."

A webquest typically includes the following elements: An Introduction, a presentation of the Task, a list of Resources, a step-by-step description of the Process, a form or rubric for Evaluation, and a Conclusion that summarizes what students have learned.

WebQuests were designed to bring together the most effective instructional practices into one integrated student activity which emphasizes critical thinking, constructivism, cooperative learning, authentic assessment, and technology integration.

Why Webquests?
(The following is a summary of the main points made by Tom March in his article entitled Why Webquests? This summary was created for the purposes providing a brief background of Webquests for our use today.)

WebQuests use several strategies to increase student motivation:

1. students are presented with a central question that honestly needs answering (authentic task)

  • can not be answered simply by collecting and spitting back information. A WebQuest forces students to transform information into something else: a cluster that maps out the main issues, a comparison, a hypothesis, a solution, etc.
  • this higher level thinking task is broken down into sub-tasks
2. students are given real resources to work with and sift through to construct their own understanding; Internet gives direct access to individual experts, searchable databases, current reporting, and even fringe groups to gather their insights (Internet makes it easy for teachers to compile these resources and not have all the answers)

3. cooperative rolesdiffer to develop particular expertise to share with group

4. the answer or solution the student teams develop can be posted, emailed or presented to real people for feedback and evaluation(authentic assessment)

Future Goal: students will have internalized many of the cognitive strategies built into WebQuests, so that they can successfully direct and guide their own studies and findings. You might call this idea "WebQuests as training wheels."

Let's visit Bernie Dodge's The Webquest Page to find out what a good webquest looks like.

K-3: Stellaluna, Australian Animals,

4-6: Planetary Webquest,

How can I use a template to make a webquest?

What about the real template from Bernie Dodge's website?

Are there webquests already published dealing with topics you cover in your regular curriculum?

Kindergarten: Insects: Welcome to the Wonderful World Of Insects

Kindergarten: Plants: Our Magical Garden (K-1?)

Grade 1: Eric Carle: Quest for Respect with The Grouchy Ladybug

Grade 1: Pond Life: Cape Cod Habitat Adventure

Grade 2: Sound...Sound Sensation (created by students)

Grade 2: Insects: What's Bugging You?

Grade 3: Moon: Moonquest...The Adventure Begins

Grade 3: Colonial America: Children in Colonial America

Grade 4: Simple Machines: Create a new compound machine

Grade 4: French and Indian War: Thinkquest project A Revolution

Grade 5: Civil War ...a whole list of webquests

Grade 6: Wind: Stormy Weather (created by teachers) and Weather (created by students)

Grade 6: Ancient Egypt (includes Heiroglyphics)

No webquests available? Try creating your own...

Library: Beatrix Potter: Use this site as a resource for a webquest

Grade 2: Amelia Bedelia: adapt this lesson idea

Grade 6: Embryology: Chickscope and Enchanted Learning Eggs Information

Click here to access a list of Internet resources that tie into many of your classroom themes.

Need a really good starting place for elementary school students?

Try Enchanted Learning for Little Explorers
Want to keep searching for more?
Try linking up to my search engines for kids web page.
Ready for a really powerful search engine that's great for teachers?
Try typing in your search words at
Where can I just explore some of the many websites that are available onlineCLICK HERE TO BEGIN EXPLORING! Although this list is only a tiny representation of the webquests online, it's a small sampling of the webquests I've compiled through my travels. It's a little overwhelming, but ... have fun!