I begin the lesson by asking how many of my students have watched Olympic games. Some have and some have not. I tell them the Olympics is the leading international sporting event which features summer and winter competitions with athletes competing in various sports from over 200 nations. I ask them if any of them know any history of how the Olympics began. None do. So, I tell them today we are going to do a web quest to learn more about the Olympics. But first, we will watch a Brainpop video about the Olympics. (Click here to view the Brainpop video on the Olympics.)
Next, I ask students to find a partner to work with to research information for the web quest on the Olympics. All information for the web quest may be found on the Internet. I like this instructional strategy because it provides students research skills and guidance. It also allows them to learn new things in an engaging manner. Web quests are prime opportunities for cooperative, collaborative student research. This web quest on the Olympics is inquiry-based and motivational for my students. I answer any questions students have and students get started.
Following the web quest, we come back together to share our answers whole group. This activity promotes critical, creative, and higher order thinking skills. It is an opportunity to infuse technology into the curriculum as my scholars participate in a meaningful performance task that is aligned to Common Core State Standards. CCSS encourages students to seek information from multiple perspectives and multiple sources, which they can easily do with this assignment. I provided thorough scaffolding and modeling for my students to ensure that they had a solid understanding of what they were assigned to do and my expectations. Since my students are more responsible for their learning with the web quest as the guide, they construct a deeper understanding of the content.
To close the lesson, I ask students to write one new thing they learned, one thing they still want to learn about the Olympics, and one personal goal they have a desire to accomplish. Students' responses varied. Many said they learned about the history of the Olympics, about the different medals and different athletes. Students were very interested in learning more about how athletes train and are selected to become Olympic athletes. As far as goals, some students want to make the Principal's list or honor roll while others want to become professional athletes. I explained to my students that some common traits in all Olympic athletes are perseverance, determination, and goal-setting. They set a goal of making it to the Olympics and they never give up on reaching their goal. I tell them goal-setting gives us purpose for our lives and no matter what challenges they face - Never give up on your goals and dreams!