A specific type of problem solving, inquiry learning activity is known as a WebQuest. Created by Bernie Dodge, the quests require students to use the web to research information that will give them the facts to enable a decision that will resolve a problem. WebQuests come in a wide variety of activities. Visit the WebQuest home site to get a feel for the activity. Below are several examples of WebQuests.
When higher order thinking concepts are the target and the more challenging aspects of the topic are explored, your students are ready to try a WebQuest. Basically, a WebQuest presents student groups with a challenging task, scenario, or problem to solve. It is a cooperative learning activity. It's best to choose aspects of a topic that are under dispute or that at least offer different perspectives. Current events, controversial social issues, and environmental topics work well. Also anything that requires evaluation will evoke a variety of interpretations. The web is so critical because it offers the breadth of perspectives and viewpoints that are needed to construct meaning on complex topics. Students benefit from being linked to a wide variety of web resources so that they can explore and make sense of the issues involved in the challenge.
Logistically, all students begin by learning some common background knowledge, then divide into groups. In the groups each student or pair of students have a particular role, task, or perspective to master. They effectively become experts on one aspect of a topic. When the roles come together, students must synthesize their learning by completing a summarizing act such as e-mailing congressional representatives or presenting their interpretation to real world experts on the topic.
To learn more about WebQuests and to experience one, go to the WebQuest about WebQuests and complete the cooperative learning activity.
Check Out Some WebQuests!
University of Richmond undergraduate program web activity page
Tools to help with a web activity
As you can see from the amount of information on the web, this is a much discussed and well liked activity. Students learn and have fun. This is a wonderful problem solving activity for students.
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