Teacher's guide for A WebQuest on Telling the Difference
by Tom March
IntroductionUse this WebQuest to help 10 - 12 Social Studies students learn about Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?. The goal is to get students engaging in critical thinking.
Main Topic: Terrorist or Freedom Fighter 2? Subtopics: the War on Terror, Globalization / backlash, 'The New World Order', Current Events Grade Level: 10 - 12 Subject(s): Social Studies Learning Goal: engaging in critical thinking
Vision and Reality
If the learning goal were achieved in the most ideal of perfect worlds it would look something like:
In the ideal version of this activity, students are engaged and sophisticatedly weighing the differences between examples of 'terrorism' and acts motivated by a desire for 'Freedom.' Students will be reading adult-level articles, sharing viewpoints and arguing with evidence and examples, not prejudice and bias.
However, what I anticipate probably looks more like:
Based on the Vision set for this activity, the actual reality is more likely to be that students will find it difficult to discern the subtle differences between examples / case studies. They may have a tough time seeing beyond their current frame of reference. My goal for how I can support students in this is to use a scaffolded structure to both engage learners in the gray areas as well as find their own way out of the complexity. It might be useful to have students arrive at an individual decision as well as a group one. Respecting personal viewpoints as well as constructing a negotiated 'truth' will be valuable outcomes.
The What - If Inventory
To give the activity its best chance at helping students learn, I assembled this list of possible resources:
Technology ResourcesI'd like to investigate how technology has changed the terror / war scenarios. Cell phones are used to detonate bombs and smart bombs to destroy complete buildings in 'surgical strikes.' Understanding technology's role in modern conflict might be revealing. I am interested in starting a Class site and this might be a good topic.
- Web sites that speak directly from the perspective of various groups (the CIA vs. terrorist cells).
- Sites that present extensive feature reports on key events like 9/11, The Intifada, the 1968 Olympics, etc.
- As a means of communication / collaboration.
Possible CollaborationsOf course it would be great to have students share perspectives with students in different parts of the world and get direct feedback on their ideas.
Special EventsSome upcoming events are the 2004 US election and the Australian Federal election. The potentiel impact of the 'War on Terror' on the outcome might be predicted.
General ResourcesMainstream information sources (encyclopedia, etc.) will contribute the 'agreed upon' version of history to contrast the varied perspectives.
StandardsThinking and Reasoning Standards from McREL
- Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument
- Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning
- Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences
- Understands and applies basic principles of hypothesis testing and scientific inquiry
- Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques
- Applies decision-making techniques
created by Tom March