A monkey webquest is a wonderful tool to introduce young learners to research skills. Before you get started, remember that it is
important to carefully check any Internet sources to make sure that they are appropriate for your students.
Ask the students what they know about monkeys, and make a list of their answers and ideas. The students will probably mention storybook characters such as Curious George. Tell them that you will save this list and after the webquest, you will look at it again and compare the results.
Begin the quest with a book to share with the class. An excellent choice would be Apes and Monkeys by Barbara Taylor. This book states the differences between monkeys and apes and is a good starting point for discussion. The photographs in this book are stunning. It also includes a list of useful websites.
Explain to the students that their task is to learn about three different species of monkeys. There are over 200 different species and you cannot deal with all of them.
The webquest should have specific questions related to the information that the students are researching. On chart paper list the three monkey species that they are going to research.
Suggestions : Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Chimpanzees.
Next, reveal the questions that the students will be answering.
- What does prehensile mean? Make a picture to show the meaning.
- Where do Howler Monkeys live?
- Chimpanzees: tell about their habitat. What do they eat?
- Where do Spider Monkeys live? What do Spider Monkeys love to do?
- Why are Chimpanzees becoming extinct? What is being done to help them?
Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with one of the questions, large sheets of paper, crayons and markers. Schedule computer time for each group and have available a selection of books (see suggestions for suitable books), magazines, and pictures. Invite the students to use all of the media available to find answers to their question. Encourage them to print a report or use illustrations to present their answers.
Suggestions for books:
The Chimpanzee by Sabrina Crewe
- Baby Chimp by Debra Mostow Zakarin
- Emily the Rain Forest Monkey by Skolnik
Use these websites for your research:
- Howler Monkeys: Watch a short National Geographic video about these wonderful monkeys
- Los Angeles Zoo: This site gives information on the characteristics, habitat, food and predators of various types of monkeys.
- Discover Chimpanzees: Jane Goodall was instrumental in bringing attention to the chimpanzees. Here you will find a wealth of information about these amazing animals.
Invite each group to share their findings. Provide each student with a self evaluation form. This could be very simple e.g. I think I worked (Well. OK. Could have done better). My group worked together ( Well. OK. Did not co-operate)
Observe the way the students interacted. Were the answers relevant to the questions? Did each member of the group participate? Did the students present their findings in a comprehensive way? Did they use illustrations and the printed word?
Retrieve the list of things that the students told about monkeys before the activity and compare the observations. This really proves to them the importance of research.
Termites on a Stick by Coxon,Michele. Publisher:Star Bright Books.2008
Apes and Monkeys by Taylor, Barbara.Publisher:Kingfisher,2007
The Chimpanzee by Crewe,Sabrina.Publisher: Heinemann Library.1998
Emily, the Rain Forest Monkey by Skolnik.Published by Skolnik.1998
Baby Chimp by Zakarin,Debra Mostow.Published by Grosset and Dunlap.1996