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What Happened to the Aztec and Inca Empires Because of Exploration?
California State Social Studies Standards
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Final Projects

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LINKS:   
What is a Webquest?                           How to Build a WebQuest
 

STUDENT WORK SAMPLES:
 
 
Click here to read the final draft:
Magellan
Columbus
Cortes
Prince Henry
 
Final Thoughts:
It takes a little time to complete, but the final products for all six groups were excellent and the students were proud of what they had accomplished.  It was true project-based learning and everyone was engaged.  It was a great experience.
 
I was a coach and facilitator; they were the leaders.  I didn't tell them what to do, I guided them to find it on their own.

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Map drawn by Columbus group.

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Editing final draft.

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT:
 
Introducing the site:
Read the introduction to the class and then let the students explore the site before you begin the quest.
 
Navigating the site:
When you get to a new step in the process, go through it with the class first to make sure they know what is expected of them and where the different links lead.
 
Writing:
When it was time to begin the writing of the letter, I showed the first 5-7 minutes of the movie Master and Commander so they could get a sense of what the sounds and sights would be like aboard a caravel.  After viewing the clip, we brainstormed lists of sensory images (sight, sound, smell) that the stowaways might experience and the lists were left up through the writing of the final draft.  Although they were to write a persuasive letter, it needed to be a narrative as well.  To help them see how to incorporate their facts we wrote an introductory paragraph together first, paying careful attention to point-of-view and narrative details.  I often leave the sample up for the students that need that extra support (they rarely copy it--most often they create a version of their own) just to get them off on the right foot.
 

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Resources:
  • Bernie Dodge WebQuest Website
  • The Literacy Web at University Of Connecticut Website
 

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Students researching DaGama.

Every student has great ideas, but not all of my students were capable writers yet.  To address this issue I told each group to choose a "Head Writer" who would be responsible for the actual crafting of the sentences on Appleworks, but everyone contributed their ideas.  They used their planners to organize when they created their rough drafts.  Groups were given the option of doing the rough draft on the computer.  They edited as they created the letter on Appleworks and then did a final edit using peers to proofread.  Each group had a thesaurus and a rubric to refer to.  They also had an example to refer to on the website.