Energy Generation WebQuest Lesson Plan


Step 1A: Enter Basic Information about the Lesson


*Name of Lesson:


Energy Generation WebQuest

*Lesson Grade Level:

4th grade

Additional Grade Levels:

Above 4th grade


Susanne Commisso, graduate student, Notre Dame de Namur University Education Department

Gina Lencioni, teacher, Junipero Serra, South San Francisco School district



Step 1B: Specify the Instructional Setting


Instructional Setting:


Single Student


Small Group


Whole Class



Step 1C: Enter Lesson Description and Objective(s)


*General Description of Lesson:

The goal of this lesson is to explore different ways that our society generates electricity. We have explored what electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism is - now we want to step back and find out how these areas are used in everyday life.

The desired outcome of this lesson is for students to learn about where and how electricity comes into our homes. In learning about this area, the hope is to solidify the concepts learned in electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism.

*Objective(s) of Lesson:

The objective of the lesson is to produce a publication that can be used as a class or school resource that explains what causes Energy Generation is.





Step 2A: Select the Subject and Strand(s)/Domain(s)


*Subject Area:

Electricity and Magnetism


4th grade Physical Science


Additional Subjects:

Power Generation, Renewable Energy, History of Science

Cross Curricular Connections:

Physical Science, history, reading, & writing



Step 2B: Select the Standard(s) Addressed by your Lesson Plan



California Physical Sciences

1. Electricity and magnetism are related effects that have many useful applications in everyday life. As a basis for understanding this concept:

d. Students know the role of electromagnets in the construction of electric motors, electric generators, and simple devices, such as doorbells and earphones.

g. Students know electrical energy can be converted to heat, light, and motion.


Step 3A: Specify the types of assessments that will be used


*Assessment type(s)


Writing Samples














Teacher-made test





Resource finding







Step 3B: Specify how student learning will be assessed


Describe the assessment plan:

Students will explore the links for information about their topic.  They will record in their journals:

  • Where they found the information,
  • Who wrote the information,
  • What the information was.


The overall project is a final class publication about Energy Generation, so the more unique information the students can find the more interesting the final product will be.  For instance, if students find an experiment that can be done to explain a concept, they should try it out and include it for the final product.


The students will be assessed on their journal entries, the additional resources they find, their drafts for the final publication and their collaboration with partners and the whole class in producing the drafts and final product. The assessment is based on the correctness of information, how clear the explanations are, the general writing rubrics and the individual student’s participation.





Step 4A: Select the electronic learning resource(s) you would like to use in this lesson plan


Select resource(s):


 Computer Lab, Microsoft Word, Browser, Internet Connection




Step 4B: Select the computer and video resource(s) needed for this lesson


Software Applications:








Web Browser (for exploration on the web)




Word Processing (for journal and draft writing)











Computer Equipment:


Computer (Win or Mac)


Sound Capabilities


Internet Connection


Digital Camera


CD Drive


Projection Device


DVD Drive


Web TV








Video Equipment:






DVD Player


Video Camera


Laserdisc Player






Step 4C: Select the teacher’s required technology competency level


*Teacher Competency Level:


Novice – need to be able to effectively use the internet.






N/A (no computer skills required)


Step 4D: Add instructional materials to be used as resources with this lesson


Materials and Resources used by teachers and students:

The Story of Science: Newton at the Center, Joy Hakim

Harcourt Science, California Edition, 4th grade or equivalent

Harcourt Science, California Edition, 5th grade or equivalent




Step 5: Specify how the lesson will be implemented


*Teacher Procedure:

Each group will be assigned to one of the areas associated with electricity generation (see the diagram on the main webquest page). Split the class up into groups of 2 to 3 students.  Assign each group a box in the concept map.  For each box, brainstorm with the group about what kinds of questions you might ask to understand the concept in the box. 

Each group will go to the Find out what you need to write about link on their topic page. On that page will be a list of questions they must answer in their summary. Once they have read and understood their questions, they should start exploring their topic links.

Possible questions the students could answer are:

  1. What is the medium your topic area uses to generate electricity (water, steam, etc.)?
  2. What is the process and equipment used to generate this type of electricity?
  3. What environmental considerations do these types of generating facilities have to think about?
  4. Where does the electricity go after it is generated at the facility?

Each group will select a specific generation plant to look at that produces electricity for California (they should be able to find a list on their specific web page). They will have to read about how their topic area generally produces electricity and specifically how their generation plant produces electricity.

Have the groups go off to the websites in their boxes and try to answer the questions they were given.  They should record what information they found, where they found it, and who wrote it in their journal files (they can cut/paste links, etc.).


Once everyone has had a chance to explore their links and gather information, have them write summaries that answer the questions assigned to the topic they were exploring.  This is a first draft and should go through the cycles of editing to produce a final product.


Once all the final papers are ready, have a class discussion with the editors about how the final publication should be organized and decorated.  Then allow the editors to produce it.

Groups will be given more than one computer to work on next to each other. Each group should divide themselves into pairs to work on each of the main questions. A note taking document will be provided on each of their computers.

The teacher role at this point is to help students as needed and make sure everyone is keeping on track.

*Student Tasks:

1.      Understand the questions that should be answered to explain the concept in your concept box.

2.      Explore the website provided for information to answer these questions.

3.      Record your exploration and information obtained in your online journal.

4.      Write a first draft of the answers to your questions.

5.      Go through the editing cycle to produce a final paper.

6.      Work with the editors to produce the final publication.

7.       Refer to rubric.html for rubrics for this webquest lesson.

*Time Required:

# of class periods:


# of minutes per class period:


Notes, tips, suggestions, and/or extension activities:

Search out experiments that can be added to the final publication.  Have the students test out the experiments to see how easy/hard it is to produce.  If it is difficult, have them write detailed directions to include in the final publication.