The Great Outdoors
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.
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
1. Planning an itinerary for a 2-week camping
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 (http://www.parks.wa.gov/parkinfo.asp)
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
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
Rating Scale to evaluate their learning as evidenced by their
poster and presentation.
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
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.
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.
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
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
g. Students write a final draft of their
campout menu and include the total cost for the food they plan
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
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.
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.
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
- 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
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.
- 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
Formal citations of all the resources
used in creating this WebQuest can be found on the Credits
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
2007 by Russell