WebQuests in Middle School

by Jim Andris, jandris@siue.edu


A web-based tool that has excited a lot of teachers in the last two yearsis the webquest. Developed by Prof. BernieDodge (http://edweb.sdsu.edu/People/BDodge/BDodge.html) at San DiegoState University, it is a way to focus the internet-based activities oflearners so that they get both structure and direction, but still havevarying degrees of freedom to explore web resources. In the article WebQuest(http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec596/about_webquests.html), Prof. Dodgedistinguishes between short term and long term webquests. He then providescritical attributes for webquests, which he says should contain: an introductionthat sets the stage, a task that is doable and interesting, a setof information sources needed to complete the task, a descriptionof the process the learners should go through in accomplishing the task,some guidance on how to organize the information acquired, and aconclusion.

The Task

You will be exploring other middle school webquests in this 45 minute session.Once you understand this model, you may decide to develop a webquest foryour own use or to work as a team to consolidate web resources for usein a thematic unit.

Information Sources

The Process

  1. Your first step is to form teams of pairs or trios to work in. You couldbe teaching the same subject or grade level.
  2. Begin comparing and contrasting middle school web sites that are givenabove.
  3. Make sure you can define a webquest as Prof. Dodge defines it, and thatyou can find good and not so good examples of webquests.
  4. Still in your teams, come up with at least one good example of a webquestthat one or more of you could use in your classroom activities.


A very good way to organize the information you have come up with in generatingyor example is to follow the structure that Prof. Dodge provides and thathas provided the structure for the information on this page using the categoriesof an introduction that sets the stage, a task that is doableand interesting, a set of information sources needed to completethe task, a description of the process the learners should go throughin accomplishing the task, some guidance on how to organize theinformation acquired, and a conclusion.

Some other questions that you might want to have answers to:


  1. We will have a 10 minute discussion at the end of this session. At thistime we will identify those teams or individuals who wish to develop aWebQuest, remembering that this includes teaching using the webquest.
  2. I or others will assist you if you wish to put your WebQuest on the web.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at jandris@siue.edu
Updated January 14, 1998