The Great Outdoors

Teacher Page

Created and Maintained by Russell Yates



This is a four-in-one WebQuest, four separate yet complimentary student activities interwoven into one theme. This writer has observed that elementary lessons too often allow for little student choice, frequently target very narrow objectives, are not designed to encourage student enthusiasm, and rarely promote the exploration of life-long hobbies and sports. This unit is designed to do all of these things while still embracing current educational standards.

The following teacher notes should help you use this WebQuest with your class. To jump directly to different sections use these page content links.

 Learners  Standards  Process Introduction  Process: Itinerary  Process: Diorama
 Process: Packing  Process: Menu  Resources  Evaluation  Conclusion


The Great Outdoors Camping WebQuest is designed for students in third through fifth grades and lends itself well to multiage classrooms. By completing various parts of this WebQuest, students will gain knowledge and skills in the disciplines of reading, mathematics, writing, speaking, social studies, art, health, and technology.

Although students will increase their academic abilities while completing this WebQuest, they should possess the following skills prior to beginning various parts of this WebQuest (unless modified by the teacher):

  • read and write independently at about the third grade level or above.
  • use an Internet web browser.
  • use a map scale to measure distances.



There are a number of Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) covered by the various activities in this unit. They are all listed on the Camper's Evaluation page and organized by activity (Camping Task) and by discipline. You will notice that this author chose not to modify to any great extent the wording of the EALRs listed there. This means that the rating scales may need to be discussed with the students to insure complete understanding.



After students have been introduced to using the web to get information, introduce them to this WebQuest.

At this point you have a couple options as a teacher. You can have each student choose and complete a task individually or you can organize them into small groups based on their interest in the various tasks.

Organized by the "Camping Tasks" below is the process for each task from the teacher's perspective. Use these anchor links to help you get to the appropriate section quicker.

Process Contents by Task

Planning a Camping Itinerary

 Making a Model Campsite

 Packing a Backpack

 Planning a Camping Trip's Menu


1. Planning an itinerary for a 2-week camping trip.

Students plan a 2-week (14 days) travel camping trip visiting Washington State Parks. To do this they will need to figure out which parks to visit and in which order they will visit them. Students will also need to decide on how long they would like to spend at each park. They will list what activities are available at each of the parks and may need encouragement to use this information to help them decide how long they should plan to stay at the parks they choose. Students need to plan on camping at three or more parks and be sure that the driving distance each travel day is a reasonable one for their family. Below are the individual steps.

a. Students go to the Washington State Parks Regional Maps webpage ( and explore the different regional state park maps. Most of the state parks have individual park maps and include a listing of specific information at the bottom of each page, including what activities are available. Be sure to point this out to them as they begin this step and encourage them to take notes on which parks they think are the most promising.

b. Students next decide which region (or regions) they wish to visit. Be sure that they don't choose parks in regions that are too far apart. Since children of this age don't drive they may have difficulty with this. Remind them that cars frequently travel at 60 miles per hour and that means that for every hour driving they can expect to travel about 60 miles. You can then momentarily skip ahead to one of the state maps and use the map scale to get some general ideas how much travel time is involved to get from one area to another.

c. Students now decide which parks they want to visit. Remind them to use their notes and suggest that they plan to visit parks with activities they like best. Be sure to remind them that they can only stay overnight in parks that permit camping. However, encourage them to plan travel breaks at parks without camping facilities.

d. After students have a list of parks they want to visit, you may need to help them decide which order to visit them. Help them base their decision on driving distance by using one of the online state maps linked here. Students may also need some help estimating distances using the map scales.

e. Next students need to make decisions about how long they should camp at each park. Remind them to list all of the activities they plan to do at each park for each day as well as the requirement that they visit a minimum of three parks during their "trip."

f. You may need to help students gather materials for their poster presentation. They will need a large piece of tag board or poster paper, some markers or crayons, and a state map to use as a reference. They will draw a map of the portion of the state they plan on visiting. Have them include the following:

  • state parks they will be visiting.
  • towns and cities they will be traveling through or that are nearby.
  • important lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
  • roads that they plan on following between their home and all of the parks they will be visiting, including approximate distances between planned stopping points.
  • other features that they think are important to include.
  • label all features of their maps.
  • have them include a map key and compass rose.

g. Next to the map, glued onto the same piece of poster paper, students should include a written copy of their itinerary. This should be in final draft form and list all of the parks, when they will be visiting them, what they plan on doing each day they are at the parks, and other activities available there. You will likely need to remind them to plan for travel days to and from their home, and between parks.

h. Schedule a time for them to present their map and itinerary to the class. At this time you will use the Camping Itinerary Rating Scale to evaluate their learning as evidenced by their poster and presentation.


process contents


2. Making a diorama of a perfect campsite.

a. Have students read the following webpages. Remind them not to spend extra time surfing the links available on these pages. Have them take notes on what they think are important things to keep in mind when setting up a campsite.

b. Have students use what they've learned about camping to draw a detailed picture of what they believe to be the perfect campsite. They will use this drawing as a plan for their diorama.

c. Students use their drawing as a plan for making their diorama. Give them hints as to how to be creative using materials to make their model. Supply as many of the needed materials as you can but also recruit help from parents.

d. Remind students that they should use the writing process to make their description of the model campsite. The draft that they glue to the side of their box should be their final draft.

e. Schedule a time for them to present their diorama and description to the class. At this time you will use the Campsite Model Rating Scale to evaluate their learning as evidenced by their campsite model and presentation.


process contents


3. Packing a backpack for an overnight camping trip.

a. Students read equipment lists and take some notes from the following webpages. You may choose to help some students speed the process up by allowing them to print the lists out.

b. Students next use their notes to create their own equipment list. Have them use a computer program like AppleWorks or MS Word for their final draft. If they don't know how to already, show them the outline and checklist features of the word processor they are to use.

c. Have students go to the following links and read about the best ways to pack a backpack. Don't forget to have them take some notes.

d. This next step is best done at home and you may need to send a note explaining it. Students use their equipment list and the notes about how to pack a backpack to gather all of the equipment they will need for an overnight camping trip and pack it into a backpack. If they don't have access to all of the needed equipment, let them make some appropriate substitutes (For instance a blanket for a sleeping bag. Some editions of the Boy Scout Field Guide show how to make and use working alternatives. The book is available at many libraries and can often also be picked up at garage sales).

e. Schedule a time for them to bring their fully loaded pack to school and share it with the class. Offer to make enough copies of their equipment list to share with the rest of the class. Use the Pack a Backpack Rating Scale to evaluate their learning as evidenced by the contents of their pack and their presentation.


process contents


4. Planning a camping trip's menu for a week-long trip.

a. Students create a blank menu plan for seven days. Be sure to check that they have included enough space for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for each day. Some examples are shown on the Camping Trails webpage.

b. Students next read through the camping menu links below. Have them take notes on which foods they think everyone on their trip would like. Remind them to include some variety and keep your meals nutritionally balanced. Provide them with a food pyramid if they seem to need help with this. Be sure they include some of their own favorites on their menu plan.

c. Have students make the final menu decisions, writing them on a piece of paper and leaving LOTS of room for notes that they may take at the grocery store. They will next create a grocery list. Students will need some guidance understanding the difference between a menu and a grocery list, they need to include all of the ingredients for each menu item they plan on making.

d. To help students set up a time to go to the grocery store, you will need to recruit their parent's or grandparent's help by sending home a letter explaining the project.

e. Students go to the grocery store with the person they have made the appointment with. They will have them help list all of the food items they will need for each meal. As they are listing each item, they need to write down the cost. They also need to make sure that they are planning to get the right amount of food for four people. Be sure to mention this in the note you send home.

f. Students next use a calculator at home to figure out the total cost for all of the food on their menu. It is okay for them to get help from their parents with this if needed.

g. Students write a final draft of their campout menu and include the total cost for the food they plan to take.

h. With the help of their parents, students decide on one of the items to make. Let them know that it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just fun. They also need to make enough of the item so that everyone in the class can have a small sample. This information should be included in the letter sent home earlier.

i. Set up a time with the student(s) to share their menu with the class. Have them bring the camping food they made so they can share it at the end of their presentation. You may need to arrange this with the parents also. You will use the Plan a Campout Menu Rating Scale to evaluate their learning based on their menu and their presentation.


process contents


Another way this WebQuest can be used is to make it available to select students, perhaps those who are interested in an independent learning project or those who have a keen interest in camping.

Resources Needed

The materials and resources you need to successfully implement this WebQuest with your class are all listed within the process notes above. The amount of materials you need to supply will vary depending on how you structure this activity with your students. If you choose to have individuals make their choice as to which camping task to complete, you will need to gather needed materials based on the number of students completing each. A listing of non-Internet materials is listed below, organized by activity (common school supplies such as crayons, scissors, and rulers are not listed).


  • poster paper, large piece of butcher paper, or large piece of tag board
  • road map of Washington state (optional but suggested)


  • boxes (larger boxes will encourage larger dioramas)
  • miscellaneous craft materials to construct elements of dioramas may include: small sticks, pebbles, plastic wrap, foil, cotton balls, poster paint or similar, string, scraps of cloth, sand, craft glue, colored construction paper, etc.

Packing a Backpack (note: many of the items needed for this activity should be provided by the student's family)

  • Backpacking equipment items as listed on the student's equipment list. If you have a backpack and tent that you can loan to students for this activity, they can likely supply or supplement for the rest of the equipment.
  • For information on equipment substitutes, you may want to find a copy of the Boy Scouts' Fieldbook. Chapter five of the 1984 edition is all about making equipment.

Campout Menu

  • Extra materials for this activity vary considerably based on which food item students wish to share with their classmates. Parents should be relied upon to supply the needed ingredients to support their child's completion of this activity.

Formal citations of all the resources used in creating this WebQuest can be found on the Credits webpage.



Evaluation for this WebQuest is based on Washington state's Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs). Different EALRs are covered by different activities. A rating scale for each activity is provided on the Camper's Evaluation webpage and is discussed in the activity process notes above. Encourage students to refer to the appropriate rating scale frequently while they are completing their WebQuest, it will help them to get a better grade and it will help you to have a more accurate assessment.



The Great Outdoors Camping WebQuest was designed as a model for intermediate elementary educators. It illustrates one way of integrating technology into the curriculum, individualizing instruction, and weaving together several curricular areas into one cohesive unit. I hope you find it helpful in supporting the success of your students ... and fun! Feel free to email me with your comments, I appreciate the feedback.

Russell Yates


Camping Tasks

Back to the Campground

Extensions for More Camping!

Camping Trails

You are here:

Teacher Page

Camper's Evaluation

 Conclusion of Your Campout

Camping Credits


copyright © 2007 by Russell Yates