WebQuest: A Trip Down Route 66

A WebQuest for 5th-6th grade Social Studies

The Mother Road: Route 66



 Have any of you ever been on a road trip? Where did you go? While you were on your way, did you ever wonder what traveling was like when your parents and grandparents were your age? Before the interstate was constructed and when cars first became popular, many Americans crossed the nation on a famous highway called "Route 66"; also known as the Mother Road. Built as the first "transcontinental" road in the United States, this highway was over 2,000 miles long and stretched from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. From its beginning in 1926 until the late 1980's, generations of Americans utilized the road as a means of moving to a better life; a doorway to a daring adventure, or for the simple pleasure of a relaxing drive. Today old Route 66 exists mostly as segmented stretches of asphalt; lazily making its way back and forth over the modern interstate. Despite no longer being an "official" highway, thrill seekers and adventurers can still traverse most of the original road all the way from Chicago to L.A.


 You are a transportation historian who is given the task of creating a PowerPoint of old Route 66. This PowerPoint will be presented to a local group of Route 66 enthusiasts for use at an upcoming conference. Using a set of given criteria, you and your partner will seek to answer the question "What is THE Must-See destination in each Route 66 State?" to equip adventure seekers and ordinary folks alike with the tools necessary for exploration.



Step 1:
Assemble your crew of 2 and appoint duties accordingly (one scribe and one "photographer"). Prepare for your journey by visiting the official Route 66 website.

Step 2: As you visit the site of each Route 66 state, utilize the following criteria in evaluating your stops along the way, i.e. historical significance, aesthetic appeal (such as scenery and location), type of allure (adventure or leisure), and affordability (is it worth the time). After visiting, rate each site by assigning a number in each category.

Step 3:
Begin your investigation of Route 66 by taking a virtual road trip down the old highway via the state sites, starting in Illinois and continuing through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and ending in California. Peruse the different sights you encounter in each state by using the resources embedded above. For further investigation, use the road maps available in the classroom.

Step 4:
Once you have completed your adventure, examine the sites you visited and tally up the scores in the four categories to determine which one is the best. These will be the Places to Visit which you will include in your PowerPoint.

Step 5: Create a PowerPoint with slides devoted to each of the 7 Sights to See in Each State. You and your partner will be responsible for creating enough content to fill an 8-10 minute time slot. Each presentation should be well thought-out, neatly organized, and appeal to the audience. See standards below for PowerPoint criteria.



You will be graded on the content and structure of your PowerPoint presentation, i.e. correct grammar and punctuation (slides with text should not exceed 6 lines); appropriate use of pictures and video (no more than 3 pictures per slide and 3 videos total); correct citations of material, and overall appearance/proof of effort by each team member, i.e. both members must present their fair share of material. You will not be graded on the Sights you have chosen; however, all content must abide by the Classroom Code of Conduct (if your unsure, don't show it!).


 Finally, have fun with this project! Take advantage of this opportunity to explore places you've never been to, and perhaps you'll be inspired to take an actual trip of your own someday. As you visit each site, take the time to consider the following questions: what was it like here when Route 66 was brand new? If these places could speak, what would they say? What would it have been like to cruise down the road in an old jalopy? or a classic Corvette? Let your imagination take a ride with this project; happy cruising!


Teacher Resources

 The student will investigate the history and development of Route 66 as a major component in the evolution of American transportation during the 20th century. Students will have the opportunity to "explore" the historic highway in the states through which it runs via the following web resources.

A special thanks to the following sites:

List of sites used in the Process:


Thanks to these sites for Images and ClipArt: