Resources and Ideas for a Shakespeare Webquest for Middle School Students

Introduction to a Shakespeare Webquest

Children love to act and make-believe so the best way to get them involved in looking for and finding information on Shakespeare resources is to get them to role-play. Once the class has been divided into groups of two, teachers can give students a choice of the following roles to play:

  • a bourgeois couple, living in Shakespeare's time, who have attended several of Shakespeare's plays and who try to convince their friends that the Bard's work is indeed worth their time and money
  • a working class couple, living in Shakespeare's time, who have attended several of Shakespeare's plays and who relate their experience to their friends
  • two historians who are looking for information on a certain playwrite called Shakespeare who has been all but forgotten through time

Shakespeare Webquest Questions and Web Sites

Once students have decided which role they wish to play, teachers can introduce a brainstorming session for the questions that students need to find information on. Writing the word "Shakespeare" in the middle of the board and asking for ideas from students is a good way to start. Students may come up with words like "writer", "plays", "Romeo and Juliette" or "English".

Teachers can contribute more original questions but most classes will come up with the same words so typical questions on the writer and related Shakespeare resources may be:

  1. When was Shakespeare born?
  2. Where was Shakespeare born?
  3. When did he die?
  4. Who was Shakespeare's wife?
  5. How many children did he have?
  6. What was the Globe Theatre?
  7. Is the Globe Theatre still standing?
  8. What did Shakespeare write?
  9. Name two of Shakespeare's tradegies
  10. Name two of Shakespeare's comedies
  11. Name two of Shakespeare's historic plays
  12. Which play do the three witches come from?
  13. Was Shakespeare an actor as well as a writer?
  14. What is the Bubonic Plague and how was Shakespeare affected by it?
  15. Find out the origins of the children's nursery rhyme "Ring a ring o' Roses" or "Ring around a Rosy"

Teachers can give the following list of web site resources to their students on a separate piece of paper:

Teachers should encourage students to search for at least one other web site with factual information on Shakespeare to present to the class.

Shakespeare Webquest Questions and Web Sites

A fun conclusion to this Shakespeare webquest is to organise a Shakespeare quiz once the class have handed in their work to be marked. Teachers can divide the class as they wish; girls against boys, the left side of the class against the right or groups of desks against other groups if normal seating is by desk grouping.

Teachers can design their own quizzes or ask students to write a question on a paper and put it into a box for the teacher to pull questions out of. Questions can be on Shakespeare's biography, his plays, his sonnets, the Globe Theatre or even on some important events that took place during his lifetime like the Bubonic Plague in Elizabethan London, to which Shakespeare lost many friends and family members.