Webquests For Persuasive Essay

What is a webquest?

Bernie Dodge, the original designer, describes a webquest as "an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation."

A webquest typically includes the following elements: An Introduction, a presentation of the Task, a list of Resources, a step-by-step description of the Process, a form or rubric for Evaluation, and a Conclusion that summarizes what students have learned.

WebQuests were designed to bring together the most effective instructional practices into one integrated student activity which emphasizes critical thinking, constructivism, cooperative learning, authentic assessment, and technology integration.

Webquest Collections

Examples of Specific Webquests for Students in Grades 5-6

  • Kid's Court: Finding Justice in Fairy Tales for students in grades 3-6 explores the "bad bullies" in fairy tales and has kids take the bullies to court with classmates as the jury.
  • Dream A Dream, Reach a Goal while fifth and sixth grade students take the Iditerod Challenge.
  • Open Up Your Business in Longwood challenges students to apply their persuasive writing skills to influence businesses to settle in a small town.
  • Mainly Maine is a response to Patricia MacLaughlin's Sarah Plain and Tall and Skylark.
  • WestWard Ho, Shall We Go? is asks students in 3rd to 5th grade learning about Westward Expansion to write a persuasive essay convincing the townfolk of Wahoo whether to stay put or head west.

Hundreds of innovative teachers are busily creating new Webquests every day and loading them up onto the Internet. In order to find the latest and greatest regarding your special topic, you'll be much better off using a good search engine to find one yourself. Follow the directions below to quickly locate a webquest related to your classroom themes and curriculum topics.

Directions for Locating a Webquest
  1. Begin with a good search engine for teachers like Google or
  2. Click in the empty white search box (not the address bar at the top of the screen).
  3. Type your topic with a plus sign (+) directly in front of it.
    e.g. +bears or +whales
    The plus sign forces the computer to look for this term.
  4. If your topic is a phrase (more than one word), use quotation marks around the phrase and put a plus sign in front of it.
    e.g. +"Ancient Egypt"
    The quotes force the computer to only search for the entire phrase, not just one of the words in the phrase.
  5. Type a space and then type +webquest.
    e.g. +bears +Webquest
    e.g. +"Ancient Egypt" +webquest
  6. Click on the search button next to the search box.
    In Northern Light, it's a blue button that says "Search"; in Dogpile, it's a grey button that says "Fetch".
  7. Your search results should include a few or many Webquests about that topic. If there's a webquest about it, you'll be able to find it if you follow these steps. If there's none available, you may just be inspired to create one yourself. If that's the case, look no further than this resource on Internet Webquests to get you started.

This page last updated June, 2007.

"The Art of Persuasion" is a familiar phrase, but what does it really mean? Words are powerful tools that can be used to influence and persuade individuals or groups of people to think and believe in certain ways. By carefully crafting a compelling, logical and appealing argument, you can strive to persuade others to think as you do, act as you do, or believe what you do.

In this WebQuest, you will undertake to establish a position on a topic of your choice and defend your viewpoint in a logical and progressive fashion. This involves both research and compilation of accurate information to defend your position in addition to employing the persuasive appeals of:

Ethos: the appeal to ethics or authority. People have standards regarding what is fair and just. By sharing your personal convictions or tapping into those of someone else, you can build a convincing argument and persuade them to adopt your position. (e.g.; "You would have to agree with PETA that puppy mills are inherently cruel and inhumane...")

Logos: the appeal to logic. Most all individuals would like to believe that they are logical and intelligent; therefore, supporting your argument with facts and data is probably the single most effective strategy to persuade your audience. (e.g.; "Over 2.7 million animals were destroyed by puppy mill owners simply because there were not enough customers to purchase them.")

Pathos: the appeal to emotion. Used wisely, emotional appeals can tip the balance in your favor and provide the added boost needed to win the heart of your audience; just be careful to not overdo it! (e.g.; "Does slaughtering millions of innocent animals seem acceptable to you?")

You will need to incorporate emotive language into your presentation to persuade your audience to see things your way. Are you having just a 'big' sale, or is it perhaps a COLOSSAL sale? Is your item 'real', or is it truly AUTHENTIC or GENUINE? Are you simply the 'best' candidate, or are you TRUSTWORTHY and DEDICATED? Your words are your tools to successfully persuade and convince your audience; be well armed with the most PHENOMENAL and COMPELLING vocabulary! There are numerous online resources available to find synonyms for your project. Below I have provided a link to help you get started.

The following websites will guide your research on how to go about formulating your arguments and supporting them with persuasive pizzazz! When researching your topic, be sure to gather information from reputable sources. Do NOT use Wikipedia or Answers.com as reliable sources.


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