Endangered Animals WebQuest

A WebQuest of Grade 3 students
(Science / Language Arts)

Teacher Page

Curriculum

This unit fits in the following Saskatchewan science curriculum areas.
The grade 3 Core Unit: Animals
Unit overview:
In this core unit, the students consider food chains and webs, both those involving humans and those which exist in natural ecosystems. The conditions which cause pressures on the animal populations in those ecosystems, and adaptations which help animals survive are identified.

This webquest was  written with these science foundational and learning objectives for this unit in mind:
        1..List some endangered and extinct animals.
        2..Examine some protective adaptations of animals.
        3..Investigate reasons why animals become endangered or extinct.
        4..Identify ways of protecting animals.

Related units:
The grade 1 Core Unit, Animals, focuses on the characteristics and the needs of animals, and prepares students for the concepts introduced in this unit.

In grade 2, the Optional Unit Dinosaurs deals directly with the study of extinct animals, while the Core Unit Habitats establishes the complexity and holistic nature of the environment.

An Optional Unit in grade 4, Vertebrates and Invertebrates, and the grade 5 Optional Unit, Communities and Ecosystems, expand upon some of the ideas from this unit.

Implementation Overview

The WebQuest is designed for a science class, but it integrates components of Language Arts as well.

Students will need approximately 4 weeks to complete this project, depending on their skills and the availability of computers. Students will need approximately two weeks to complete their research and another two weeks  to develop their presentations.

Entry Level Skills and Knowledge

It would be helpful if following skills and understandings were in place before the students undertake this WebQuest:

Students would have completed an intensive animal research project prior to beginning this webquest. This project would have been taught collaboratively with the teacher-librarian. See letter to parents explaining this project.
The students would have also completed one or two  PowerPoint presentations either individually or with a small group.  These presentations would have been integrated into the curriculum in either Language Arts, Health, Science or Social Studies.
The students would have also individually completed  a four card HyperStudio stack prior to beginning this webquest.

Outline of Activities

1.  Each student is assigned a "specialist" role.
2.  Assuming their role they will research the answers to their given questions using Internet sites.
3. With the aid of the teacher they prepare a PowerPoint,  HyperStudio or oral presentation based on the answers to the questions.
4.  Students will present their  presentations to the class.

Evaluation
A rubric is used to evaluate this webquest.  A sample rubric for the oral, PowerPoint or HyperStudio presentation have been included.  Tayloring the tasks or performances along with the descriptors for your own class should be considered when developing a rubric.
Rubric sites:
A Draft Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests
Rubric Template
Rubrics for Web Lessons
Chicago Public School's Rubric Bank

Possible Variations
This webquest does not cover all endangered animals of the world, but rather focused on four found on the prairies of Canada.  Other endangered animals may be researched as well. Print and non-print resources may be used to supplement  web sites.  Guest speakers may invited to offer more insights and students could "ask the expert" pre-determined questions.
The form of presentation  may be changed to a traditional oral form using posters rather than PowerPoint or HyperStudio.

Other  web resources
EE-Link Endangered Species
Endangered and Extinct Species Lists
Endangered Species - Sea World
Endangered Species Field Trip
Endangered Species in Endangered Spaces
Hinterland Who’s Who
MSN Encarta - Endangered Species
National Wildlife Foundation
Species at Risk in Canada
The Wild Ones
Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada
World Wildlife Fund