Underland Webquest

Teacher Page

Hello Down There: A Subterranean Township

This webquest is written for students who have some proficiency in computer research both within a network of databases and on the internet.

Entry competencies:
This project may be conducted through the sixth grade Language Arts class, but should be monitored and assisted by the science teacher and LMS. All students have should have basic, grade level appropriate experience with:

o using the computer for research using network programs, CD ROM, electronic databases, and bookmarked internet sites
o composition of reports, projects, and data collection using Microsoft Word and Excel.
o creation of tables, graphs, and PowerPoint projects
o selection and location of appropriate materials from their library and classroom resources.
o Bibliographic citation of sources

Project goal:
Small groups will work together to create a township “master plan” including living arrangements, food production, city ordinances, health regulations/provisions, and a governing council for a subterranean city. The groups will choose a presentation medium from an approved list and present to the class.

Using the available resources including electronic databases, approved internet search methods, library and classroom resources and working in small groups of three to four, the students will:
1. Select a minimum of six sources, using them to identify and record pertinent information on their assigned topics based on individual and group roles including farming, government, health, and architecture, with 100% accuracy.
2. Analyze the needs of the “subterranean population” and list a minimum of ten things (materials or policies) the township must have for long term survival, titled, ”Community Requirements” completed in a
Word document with 95% accuracy.
3. Compose weekly research journals that detail their information collection neatly and chronologically while citing sources that may later be used for a bibliography with 100 % accuracy.
4. Design a “township master plan” in a word document that details living arrangements, food supply, governmental policies, and health precautions for the members of their township with 95% accuracy.
5. Choose a presentation method to summarize the groups’ decisions on all points of the project, laws, food supply, health provisions, architecture, and relations with separate “towns” and creatures, and
present to the class using one of the following with 95% accuracy:
A. a PowerPoint presentation
B. a 3-d model and narrative document
C. a performance play that demonstrates all aspects of the project within a student developed script.
6. Collect and arrange all materials used in the creation of the project for a portfolio which includes a bibliography of sources with 90% accuracy.
7. Work with all members in the cooperative group to complete all tasks on time and generate a project that follows all given requirements with 90% accuracy.

Reading/literary response. The student expresses and supports responses to various types of texts.  The student is expected to:
(A) offer observations, make connections, react, speculate, interpret, and raise questions in response to texts (4-8);

(B) interpret text ideas through such varied means as journal writing, discussion, enactment, and media (4-8);

(C) support responses by referring to relevant aspects of text and his/her own experiences (4-8); and

(D) connect, compare, and contrast ideas, themes, and issues across text (4-8).

Reading/inquiry/research. The student inquires and conducts research using a variety of sources. The student is expected to:
(A) form and revise questions for investigations, including questions arising from readings, assignments, and units of study (6-8);

(B) use text organizers, including headings, graphic features, and tables of contents, to locate and organize information (4-8);

(C) use multiple sources, including electronic texts, experts, and print resources, to locate information relevant to research questions     (4-8);

(D) interpret and use graphic sources of information such as maps, graphs, timelines, or tables to address research questions (4-8);

(E) summarize and organize information from multiple sources by taking notes, outlining ideas, and making charts (4-8);

(F) produce research projects and reports in effective formats for various audiences (4-8)

Blooms’ Taxonomy:

Throughout the research and learning process, students will address these levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis. By the project’s completion and presentation, groups should reach the synthesis level. Some groups may reach the evaluation level.

Learning domains:
Students will be working primarily in the cognitive and psychomotor domains, using understanding of concepts and application of knowledge, and skill based experiences to complete the project requirements. A few students may rely on affective domain characteristics when evaluating group roles and discussing learning within their group.

Introducing the project:

Students should have read/heard at least 1/3 of the novel, Gregor the Overlander before beginning this project. The LMS or teacher may begin by asking students to put themselves in the place of the main character, who has fallen beneath New York to find that a strange breed of human beings live amid talking creatures and dangerous landscapes. He is desperate to escape, but unable to find a way back to the surface. Students are actively engaged with the reading through discussion, illustrating their ideas and thoughts, and Readers’ Theater.
Begin with a quote to encourage a work ethic that relates to the main characters’ dilemma.

"To steal a person's struggle is to steal his self-esteem."
Dr. Sylvia Rim

Ask the students to decide what they would do if left in the situation in which Gregor finds himself. Encourage discussion of students’ main concerns and fears in such a circumstance. Channel the discussion into solving problems with research and group cooperation.

Show a PPT presentation explaining the assignment including the hypothetical situation and group roles. The PPT will should show pictures and graphics related to the assignment including caves, agriculture, legislation, health care, and communities. At the conclusion of the PPT the teacher will read:

Your group of five has fallen into a strange world under the surface of the earth known to the inhabitants as “Underland” and found many small bands of your own kind, “Overlanders”, trying to survive. Your quest, Overlanders, is to design a functioning township for the group of humans who have been unable to find a way home. The town should develop secure, functional living quarters, a way to produce food, rules regarding health and safety, and promote a peaceful existence with surrounding townships under a democratic style of government. “

Specific roles to be assigned by teacher:

Head Councilmen:
Your job is to review and draft laws for your fellow townsfolk that will encourage prosperity and peace within your new town. You must also put the citizens at ease in their new environment. How, as the township leader, can you create a sense of safety and community and encourage others in their roles?
Using the resources and materials available, what immediate structures can be created for warmth and protection? What are some natural resources available for home and town structures? Can you offer any suggestions on “defense” to the Head Councilman?
Health professional:
Detail for the City Council what measures they should take to insure the health of the citizens in the absence of light and varied food sources. What steps can you take to insure the health of citizens in this environment? What basics needs must be met? Can you offer any suggestions to the food production team?
Food production:
Using what you know about the Underland, what sources might be used or grown in an area with an absence of light? The struggling township will need to be fed for an unknown time to come, how can you plan ahead to avert a food crisis? Can you offer any suggestions for the architect on food growth areas?
Your responsibility will be to the citizens of your new town, and to all citizens of the Underland who want to live peacefully. How can you extend a hand of friendship to the other creatures around you? What are your policies on the local water, rocks or plants, and openings to the Overland when disputes arise? Your role will also be negotiating consensus among your group members when disagreements develop.

To maximize learning and productivity, students will actively research their roles, discuss information at group meetings, record new information in research journals, inform the teacher of tutorial needs, and present their findings at the project conclusion.

Handouts of research resources should accompany group assignments including approved websites, database passwords, and location of previously selected materials in the library and classroom, bibliographic citation, a rubric on which the project will be graded, and suggestions for further research.

Information Sources
Teacher Page

Gregor the Overlander

WebQuest, Copyright, 2005, Staci Perkins, San Marcos, TX

Used by permission