Before starting the Endangered Species webquest, motivate your students by giving each student a set role to play out. Students will become actively involved in the learning process and embark on a trip into the magical world of make-believe.
Your Students Mission
Divide the class up into groups of three. Once the groups are organized you can give each group a paper with the following message on it: You are scientific researchers about to set out on an important mission to learn why so many animals on Earth have become endangered. During your travels through deserts and forests and over mountains and oceans you will encounter many different people and nationalities. Part of your mission is to teach these people what you have learned about endangered species in order to avoid the loss of many of these animals on the endangered species list and to preserve nature.
Once students have understood what their mission is you can give them the following instructions:
- Browse the web sites provided on your second sheet of paper and choose five endangered species you would like to work on
- Answer the following questions on each animal: what does it eat, where does it live, how long does it live, who are its predators and how often does it reproduce?
- Find out the reason why each animal is endangered
- Find out if anything is being done or organised to help save and protect these animals
Hand out the second sheet of paper to students with the list of web sites they must explore including:
Hold a Press Conference
The entire webquest can span several lessons and be presented as a project or it can be adapted to one or two lessons. Once each group has completed the first task of their webquest you can ask them to prepare a speech they will give to journalists in a press conference, once they have come back from their mission, explaining the following points based on information they have collected during their travels:
- Three reasons why animals become endangered
- Why it is important to protect endangered species
- How to save endangered species
- Two species you would like to help save and why
The press conference can be organized by sitting each group of three students at your desk and letting the class pretend to be journalists asking questions about the researchers' mission. Each group of researchers must have a chance to speak about the above four points and present their opinions on the matter.
Blogger and Wordpress, blog tools and publishing platforms, are free and handy for setting up blogs on school projects that can be shared between schools or simply viewed by parents. You can open an account and let each group present their work and photos in a blog post on the Endangered Species Blog.
If the blog is made public and the address given to parents, they will be able to visit the blog to view students' work and even leave comments. Statistical information on how many visitors the blog has had can motivate students to update and add to their blog on the endangered species webquest even after they have completed it.