Teacher Page


This lesson was developed in the EDT 500 course at West Chester University, by a group of graduate students interested in expanding the options of activities and involving their students in higher order thinking when covering the fourth grade social studies curriculum of learning about the state of Pennsylvania.  

- This lesson is about various features that the state of Pennsylvania has to offer its visitors; it is broken up into three focus areas for students to research and learn about: the state’s history, geographical features, and activities and events to explore within the state.  The lesson takes students on an adventure of searching through the various areas and picking the top three places for each of the three focus areas.  
-Students are given a task of clicking on the links to various sites that are provided on the Web Quest.  Once they’ve each decided their role, they will read the directions given for their role, and take on that role as they explore the different websites given to them.  
-You, as the teacher, will provide each student with a graphic organizer that helps students take notes on the places they will be researching.  This organizer provides students with a simple lay out of each locations name, and three most important things to know or see at that location.  
-Students must narrow down their search and pick the top three locations they would recommend travelers to visit.
-Once students have narrowed down to their top three locations, they must write a short persuasive piece on why these locations are a “must-see” when visiting Pennsylvania.
-After each of the three group members have their three locations picked, and have written their persuasive pieces, you as the teacher should check to make sure they are on the right track and have accurate information before they begin making their commercial on Voice Thread.
-Students will collaboratively put together their own Voice Thread after viewing a tutorial video that is included in the Web Quest.  This Voice Thread will then allow you to see if students took the information they collected and applied it accurately to produce a commercial about the state of Pennsylvania.  

Each student in the group will be addressing different intelligences as they work through the Web Quest.  Students will be linguistic thinkers as they write about what they are researching and apply that new knowledge, think critically about it, and then persuade readers to think the same way.  Students will need to use higher order thinking skills because they are not just presenting factual information that they receive through their research, but then need to apply the information they have learned, determine what they think is most important and explain why in a persuasive way.  Students will need to be logical thinkers when determining what they will be advertising as their most important features of Pennsylvania.  Students will also be using their interpersonal skills when collaboratively designing a commercial; they can incorporate their musical and spatial intelligences when incorporating sound and pictures to their commercial.  

Students will be addressing many cognitive levels of thinking as they work through this Web Quest.  It is designed for students to research and gain knowledge on the state of Pennsylvania, comprehend that knowledge and apply the knowledge to the task of writing about what they have learned through their research in their graphic organizer as well as into a short paragraph.  They are then required to break down that information and synthesize the various facts they have learned to put them together as a whole and present the information all together through a Voice Thread.  They are thinking persuasively and presenting the information in a manner that requires them to be creative.  


This lesson is anchored in fourth grade social studies and involves language arts as well. This lesson could be extended to third or fifth grade students by easily tweaking the amount of material that students must cover or how much the students are required to write about each location they are researching.  
It is critical for the student to have background knowledge on what a historian, geographer, and tour guide are.  They need to have a general understanding of each of the jobs in order to follow the directions and accomplish their goals as they take on one of the roles.  It is also necessary for students to have knowledge on how to use a computer, how to read at or around their grade level, and how to write persuasively.  


Social Studies Standards
Locate historical documents, artifacts, and places critical to Pennsylvania history.

1.4 Writing Standards
1.4.5.C. Write persuasive pieces.
• Include a clearly stated position or opinion.
• Include supporting details, citing sources when needed.

1.5.4.B. Develop content appropriate for the topic
Gather, organize, and select the most effective information appropriate for the
topic, task, and audience.
• Write one or more paragraphs that connect to one central idea.

1.6 Speaking and Listening Standards
Students present appropriately in formal speaking situations, listen critically, and respond intelligently as individuals or in group discussions.
Listen critically and respond to others in small and large group situations.
Respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas, information, or opinions.

1.8 Research Standards
Produce an organized product that presents the results of research findings, using
appropriate visual aids and citing sources.
Conduct inquiry and research on selfselected or assigned topics using a variety of teacher guided
media sources and strategies.

1.9. Information, Communication, and Technology Literacy Standards
Use media and technology resources for directed and independent learning activities and problem solving.

Reflection on Standards

8.2.4.B: The students will locate documents and artifacts important to Pennsylvania on the websites provided.
1.4.5.C The students will use persuasive language when creating their commercial.
1.5.4.B  The students will gather and organize only the most pertinent information from their websites that is relevant to their topic.
1.6.4.A.  The students will  listen critically and respond to others in small group situations and
respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas, information, or opinions when collaborating in their groups.

1.8.4.B.  The students will conduct research on selfselected and/or assigned topics using a variety of teacher guided websites.

1.8.4.C.  The students will produce a voice thread that presents the results of research findings, using appropriate pictures and cite sources when needed.
1.9.4.A.  The students will  use voicethread for directed and independent learning activities and problem solving.

A list of objectives that students will master by the end of the WebQuest.
Indicate how they fulfill each of the standards selected.

  • Computers Lab or laptop cart with Internet access.

  • Each group will need an account with voicethread.com

    • Students can set up a free account (they will need to enter an email address) OR
    • Teacher can set up an account for $10 a month or $60 a year and receive the following options :
      • 100 Student accounts (add more at any time for $1 each)
      • Create Student usernames (email address not required)
      • Automatically be made a co-editor of Student work
      • Admin tool to manage Student account and create Classes
      • Custom web address to easily share public VoiceThreads
      • The procedure does not require any assistance although it is recommended that you have a colleague or an aide to assist with computer issues if possible
    • Graphic Organizer to record information from various websites


Student groups will be evaluated utilizing the rubric included under the student evaluation section of this Webquest.

Students will be assessed on their ability to locate specific information for their individual role and successfully include the information in a persuasive commercial completed on voicethread.com.  Students will also be assessed on their ability to work cooperatively with their peers, they will also be responsible for self-assessing their ability to successfully work together as a group.  

Erik Zebley,
Mar 18, 2012, 6:58 PM