For Teachers

About this WebQuest

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is not a traditional book found in schools.  This book was chosen with reluctant readers in mind.  Students will be intrigued by the interesting genre and story line as well as the blending of historical events.  This book provides a valuable bridge between a student's tastes and preferences in reading materials and the classroom's need for an educational connection and tie-in.

Due to the nature of this book and it's intent for reluctant readers, this WebQuest may be best used in an after school setting.  These activities could be used by a book club, tutoring session, or summer jump-start session.  It may be difficult having this book approved for a regular school session.  I believe, however, that it's historical connection and appeal to students make it an important tool to introduce a deciding point in history.

This book is best for middle school students.  High school students may also enjoy the story and the topic, but middle school students will receive the most enjoyment and historical gain.  For this reason, the activities, lesson plans, and educational standards included in this WebQuest are designed for middle school students.  Many of the activities require students to be proficient on the internet as well as programs such as Microsoft Word and Power Point.

Introducing the Story

Some students may be hesitant about the material chosen for this WebQuest.  The Steampunk genre is relatively new and unfamiliar.  Students may not be interested in reading this book because they are unfamiliar with the genre and do not know what to expect.  Others may simply not be interested in the story or required reading.

To introduce this story consider showing students the booktrailer.  This trailer was designed by the publishers and it meant to encourage interest in the book.  It resembles a movie trailer and uses many of the images and illustrations from the book itself.  The booktrailer has also animated these images for added interest.

If this does not create interest in the book, think about reading a passage from the book, or the first couple of chapters, in class.  The beginning of this WebQuest has included the opening scene of the book to draw students in.  The same techniques can be used in the classroom to spark interest and enthusiasm in the project.

Designing a booktalk or readers theater with the story could also help bring the story to life.  For help in creating a booktalk, visit the ALA's resource for booktalking.  This site provides articles, booktalking basics, and samples.  If you would like to try your hand at readers theater visit this How-To Guide for instructions, examples, and additional articles and sites.

Guiding Students

This WebQuest is designed for students navigate themselves.  The project has been broken down into steps.  Each step and section has it's own set of guidelines and expectations.  When a student finished a section, they will proceed to the next step.  The in-class presentations will need some guidance, preparation, and organization.  Without careful planning they will not go smoothly.

While this WebQuest and it's projects are designed for students, the teacher role should be available to provide guidance and keep students on task.  It is important for the teacher to provide a time line and due dates so that students know the expectations within their groups and classrooms.  Teachers will act as an outside source that introduces the new steps and keep students moving at a comfortable pace.

Indiana State Standards and Guidelines

The Indiana Department of Education has a set of standards and goals.  Here are the goals achieved through this WebQuest and it's activities.  These goals are for the seventh grade.  A more complete list and standards for other grade levels can be found at the Indiana Department of Education.

 7.2.6   Expository (Informational) Critique:
Assess the adequacy, accuracy, and appropriateness of the author's evidence to support claims and assertions, noting instances of bias and stereotyping.  (Core Standard)
 7.3.3   Analyze characterization as shown through a character's thoughts, words, speech patterns, and actions; the narrator's description; and the thoughts, words, and actions of other characters. (Core Standard)
 7.4.6   Give credit for both quoted and paraphrased information in a bibliography by using a consistent format for citations and understand the issues around copyright and plagiarism. (Core Standard)
 7.5.4  Write persuasive compositions that:
• state a clear position or perspective in support of a proposition or proposal.
• describe the points in support of the proposition, employing well-articulated evidence and effective emotional appeals.
• anticipate and address reader concerns and counterarguments.

Supplemental Materials and Resources

The ultimate goal of this WebQuest is to encourage students to get excited about WWI and to improve their creative writing skills.  Here are some resources for teachers, including lesson plan ideas and tips.

U.S. History - WWI
Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities, and more

This site includes many lesson plans and ideas for teachers to incorporate into the classroom.  Many of these plans include activities, themes, and basic focuses.

The Great War: Educational Resources


This site provides a number of lessons with specific goals.  In addition it provides an estimate in class times, materials needed, teaching strategies, and recommended assessment tools.  This lesson plan is also available in a PDF version.

Harry Truman's World War I
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

This site provides access to primary resources such as letters and photographs.  It also contains a lengthy list of lesson plans, activities, and movies.

Teaching Creative Writing
Sarah Small

This article contains many tips on how to introduce creative writing to young children.

The English Teacher - Teaching Creative Writing
Leif Danielson

While this site is designed primarily for high school.  Many of the activities and ideas included can be adapted for younger grades.

Tips on Teaching Creative Writing
Shirley Kawa-Jump

This site provides many tips and ideas for those who are unfamiliar with teaching creative writing.  This site was designed for an entire class of creative writing.  However, many of the ideas still apply.

Additional Activities

Listed below are several more activities and ideas that can be incorporated into this lesson and WebQuest

Reader's Theater

Consider having students perform an original work of readers theater.  Break them into groups, help them write their scenes, and then have them perform in front of the class.  This site give ideas on implementing readers theater in the classroom.

Circle Plot Diagram

This diagram will help students plan their original scenes.

Character Trading Cards


This interactive site allows students to create trading cards for the different characters found in the book, or maybe even major players in WWI.  It allows students to think critically about who these people are.

Postcard Creator
This application allows students to design and write a postcard.  Have students write postcards from the home front or from the front lines.  Include details and events from the time.

Discovery Education

This site allows students to make crosswords, word searches, more.  It is easy to use and let's students make up their own clues and words.  Make one that is WWI themed.