Just in time for Women's History Month! Education World offers a Women's History WebQuest. Challenge students to make use of bookshelf and online resources to create an Encyclopedia of Notable Women. Included: Ideas for adapting the WebQuest across the grades plus a simple rubric for grading students' efforts and a database of online resources.
This week, Education World celebrates Women's History Month with a WebQuest for students across the grades. We also provide ideas for adapting this WebQuest for use with younger and older students.
Propose to students to following scenario:
You have just accepted a job as one of the editors of a new encyclopedia that will highlight the greatest women in history. You need to research potential candidates for recognition in your field of specialty -- the arts, medicine, politics, science, or sports -- and select the women who are most deserving of inclusion in the Encyclopedia of Notable Women.
Start this WebQuest with a classroom brainstorm. Ask students, "What names come to mind when you think of the greatest women in history?" As the students respond, write the names they share on a board or chart. After students have listed 20 to 25 names, ask them to group the names into the following categories.
After they develop a list, students should use a biographical dictionary to confirm that each woman listed lived during the past century. This list will serve students as a starting point for the WebQuest task. Teachers might print out the list so each group has a copy of it.
Groups of students will be assigned as "editors" of one of the sections of the encyclopedia (in the bulleted list above). Each person in the group will contribute an article to the section. Then each group will select one woman and create a class presentation.
Teachers might choose to adapt the task.
Option for creating groups: A teacher might assign a spot in the classroom for each of the sections of the encyclopedia. Students will then be asked to go to the spot assigned to the section that most interests them. If the groups are of uneven size, the teacher will need to reassign students, using a "guess the number I've written" game or some other approach.
Younger students will be able to make use of the general Internet resources listed below. They can also use a variety of print and online resources. School libraries or media centers and the children's sections of local libraries usually have a good selection of popular biographies that can serve as valuable resources too.
Older students will be able to use the general Internet resources below. Many of those general resources will link students to more detailed or specific online resources. In addition, older students might be asked to read a full-length biography of the individual they choose to write about. Option: Each student might read two biographies about the same person; that will provide opportunities for students to explore different perspectives and contradictory information about individuals. Among the best of the general biographical resources we've uncovered on the Internet are the following:
Children's Encyclopedia of Women
Created by elementary school students, this index of famous women is organized in alphabetical order.
The National Women's Hall of Fame
Click on The Women of The Hall to find biographies of dozens of women who have been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Women's History in America
The Women's International Center supplies this alphabetical listing of famous women.
Distinguished Women of Past and Present
Check this site's alphabetical listing for biographical information about almost any famous woman Click on Search by Name.
The following link will take visitors to even more links:
About.com's Women's History
Check out women's history links on about.com. Look for them in several dozen sub-categories, including arts, medicine, military, peace, sports, and suffrage.
Education World has created a simple rubric to help students and teachers assess student and group effort on this WebQuest.
Group Work -- Each student is graded by the group.
1 point -- Student did not participate.
2 points -- Student participated to a small degree.
3 points -- Student offered a few helpful thoughts and ideas.
4 points -- Student offered opinions and ideas that helped others a great deal.
Research (to be graded by teacher and student together)
1 point -- Student used one or two resources.
2 points -- Student used a few resources, including bookshelf and online resources.
3 points -- Student used a variety of bookshelf and online resources.
4 points -- Student went out of the way to gather resources.
Written Encyclopedia Entries (to be graded by teacher)
1 point -- Student made minimal effort, copied much material from sources.
2 points -- Student made an effort to put material into his or her own words. 3 points -- Student had original thoughts and took the time to organize material.
4 points -- Student wrote and organized the article, drawing on many resources.
Oral Presentation (a consensus grade for each group from classmates and teacher)
1 point -- Student put in little preparation, stumbled over material.
2 points -- Student did a good job but did not make extra effort.
3 points -- Student presented informative and well-planned material.
4 points -- Student's and group's extra effort was obvious to all.
Ask students to reflect on the characters of the women the groups selected for their presentations. Following are two possible questions to ask:
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2009 Education World
Last updated 05/18/2011