WebQuest Design Patterns

This is a list of patterns derived from existing WebQuests that are instructionally solid. To qualify as a design pattern, the lesson should be easily modified to cover different content while using the same basic structure. Each pattern is distinct from the others in terms of the kinds of content it can be used for, and the organization of the Introduction, Task, Process and Evaluation sections. With templates that are specific to each design pattern, it should be easier to hit the ground running when starting to create a new WebQuest.

These design patterns can be organized in terms of the dominant thinking verb that underlies them. These five verbs: design, decide, create, analyze and predict, represent the highest levels of Bloom's taxonomy. Starting with those verbs guarantees that your WebQuest will be wrapped around a higher level thinking task.

Design Tasks

Instructional Purpose


Decide on an appropriate way to commemorate an event or person.


To study a person, institution or event more deeply in ways that celebrate its complexity. Use judgment to determine which aspects of the subject are laudable or important. To learn how to represent abstract ideas in concrete form, and/or to summarize many concrete instances into a more general form.

How Should They Be Remembered?

Monument on the Mall

Show Me the Money

Tall Tale Team Trading Cards

The Frogmen of World War II


Assemble and organize a body of knowledge in a form that would be useful to someone else. Examples might include cookbooks, a field guide to a particular set of wildlife, a dictionary of terms used in a specific realm; a Who's Who; a "Best of..." collection.


To learn broadly about a domain and the examples, facts, and organizational structures within that domain. To make distinctions about what is worth including and what is not. To impose an organizational scheme on the information in a way that makes sense for its intended audience.

In most cases, the Compilation design is best suited to elementary-aged children.

Georgia on my Mind

Around the World in 14 Animals

Who is on our Money?

National Treasure: Wisconsin

Concrete Design

Design a physical space or object to meet a specified goal while working within realistic resource constraints.


To develop knowledge of the options (physical things, styles, themes) available within a given domain as well as the tradeoffs involved in choosing among them. To develop deeper understanding of practical constraints and how to determine good solutions. To provide practice at calculation and quantifying things and knowledge of the laws of physics, statutes, economics, and any other realm that governs activity within this domain.

Dream Bedroom

Buiiding Bridges

Designing a Backyard Zen Garden

Room Redo


Assemble a group of objects in a physical space for the purpose of exposing an audience to them for a specific goal. Choose what will be exhibited and how the exhibited will be laid out.


To learn about a specific body of knowledge (e.g., gods of Egypt; transportation in the 19th Century; types of fabric). To develop judgment about what is worth showing to a particular audience for a particular purpose. To develop a rationale for a sequence or framework in which the objects are to be seen.

Civil War Museum

Cold War Museum

Insect Museum

Harlem Renaissance Museum

Saltwater Ecosystem Museum

Persuasive Message

Research and analyze information on a given topic, form an opinion, and construct a research-based persuasive message to convince others of the validity of the position chosen.


Reading: Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched. Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration.

Writing: Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained, persuasive, and sophisticated way and support them with precise and relevant examples. Presentations: Use organization, graphics, and verbal strategies appropriate to persuade the audience.

Will the Real William Shakespeare Please Stand Up?

Teaching to Learn

Create a lesson for a learner who is substantively different from yourself.


To acquire a deeper understanding of a body of knowledge by having to teach it to someone else.

You... the Teacher!

Cool Cell Characteristics

Aliens From the Planet Nomathus

Listening to 'This I Believe'

Teaching Plan for a Patient with Type 2 Diabetes

The Language of Relationships: Connecting Math

Time Capsule

Capture the essence of a particular period in history by selecting a number of artifacts to include in a time capsule.


To guide a survey of a period and develop judgment about the relative importance of its activities and products.

Time Capsule of Life in Egypt

Middle Ages Time Capsule



Travel Plan

Design an itinerary while working within realistic constraints.


Teach factual knowledge about a particular place or set of places; budget time and money; optimize a solution that balances several competing possibilities.

Canada: A Family Vacation

Are You Ready for a Trip?

The Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca

ˇAventura Mexicana!

A Trip to India

A Family Trip to Kyoto, Japan

Trip to Disney World

Explore Japan!

Traveling to China

Decision Tasks

Instructional Purpose

Comparative Judgment

Rank order a given set of people, places, things, events, etc. using criteria that you develop.


To develop an understanding of how a set of things can be compared and contrasted with each other. In addition, this pattern requires learners to think about values, both their own and those that apply to a specific context.

Evaluating the Presidents

Visual Design, Aesthetics & Creativity

Got Wheels?

Africa Site Selection

Who is the Most Famous Kansan?

Best Hybrid Car

You've Got To Be Kidding!

Quality Publications: You Be the Judge

The Pet Counselors

Greatest NBA Dynasty Ever


Make a group recommendation to solve a problem.


To build research, compromise and consensus building skills while exploring a multi-faceted problem. Review thoughts, theories and multiple points of view to make informed individual opinions and a single group recommendation.

iPod in Schools

Should the Use of Hydroelectric Power be Increased?

Tobacco News Report

Analysis Tasks

Instructional Purpose

Analyzing for Bias

Analyze sources of information for bias and use that analysis to articulate a point of view and demonstrate its impact.


To teach the structure and variations of various forms of expression such as editorials, editorial or political cartoons, and propaganda in advertising. To teach a general approach to analyzing messages and developing a point of view in one of the above modes of expression.

Critical Thinking Skills:

  • Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.
  • Students identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.
  • Students collect, evaluate and employ information from primary and secondary sources, and apply it in written and oral presentations.

World War II Propaganda

Propaganda in Black and White

Manzanar, Japanese-Americans and World War II

Purpose, Bias and Audience in Online News Resources

Concept Clarification

An analysis of an abstract concept through investigation of examples and the identification of critical and less critical attributes


To analyze an abstract idea to develop a deeper understanding of its meaning and implication. Abstract ideas and concepts might include, but are not be limited to, heroism, courage, freedom, and patriotism. Identification of critical and less critical attributes will aid in discerning the boundaries or fuzziness of the concepts.

Defining YOUR Character

Love, Romance and Desire in Literature

Genre Analysis

Analyze a specific form of creative expression and use that analysis to create a new example in that form.


To teach the structure and variations of a genre and more generally to teach that most understandable writing is based on some set of conventions. To teach a general approach to analysis and to guide observation and close reading.

Realm of Fairy Tales

Where Did We Come From?

Having Fun with Fantastic Fables

Fountain of Colors

In the Style of...

Sharpen your understanding of a particular artist or artistic style by creating a new work in a similar way.


Develop an understanding of the concept of artistic style in general. Apply this understanding to a specific style.

All Folked Up!

Abstract Painting

The Romantic Movement

Learning to Paint Like Van Gogh

Melting Clocks and Donald Duck

Art Critic Becomes Artist

Film as Literature: Tim Burton as Auteur

Policy Briefing

Organize a policy conference focusing on a global issue for participants to discuss the issues from different points of view.


To apply appropriate interviewing techniques, deliver persuasive arguments (including evaluation and analysis of problems and solutions and causes and effects), deliver descriptive or expository presentations, historical interpretation, research, evidence, and point of view. And to teach the art of negotiation.

Prediction Tasks

Instructional Purpose

Alternative History

Hypothesize about fictional realities in which historical events turn out different from our own. Extrapolate a chain of cause and effect which that one difference would create.


To develop understanding of a historical event; and predict how events would be transformed

Bombs Away!

The South Will Rise Again

I Will Remember You

Creative Tasks

Instructional Purpose

Behind the Book

Use the web to learn more about the time and place in which a work of literature is set.


Deepening ones understanding of a work of literature by studying its setting.

How a Hero Became Literate

An Elizabethan Exploration!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Lying and Reverse Theology in the Screwtape Letters

Looking in Out of the Dust

Beyond the Book

Deepen ones understanding of a work of literature by extending it beyond what was originally written or by mapping it onto an entirely different domain.


Develop creativity. Extend understanding of the characters, plot, setting and meaning of a work of literature.

Rewriting Romeo and Juliet


Lord of the Flies & Barack Obama

Historical Story

Apply the principles of effective story writing to dramatizing historical events or the lives of historical personalities.


To teach the elements of an effective short story and to use that vehicle for understanding and dramatizing a specific event or theme from history. Consistent with California Learning Standards: Language Arts: 2.9.6 - "Write biographical and autobiographical narratives or short stories." Social Science: 4.5.9 - "Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories."

Letters from the Civil War

A Baby's First Steps

Meeting of the Minds

Assemble a group of students who will role-play historical figures for the purpose of a discussing a given topic. Examples might include a dinner party with people from a certain time period, a discussion panel of figures from different time periods who discuss a given topic from their assumed viewpoint.


To learn about important historical events, the figures involved, and the reasons behind their actions. This knowledge will be synthesized into the positions these characters take on the topics presented by the discussion moderator.

What Would Dewey Do?

Meet the Immigrants

Decade Dinners

Entertaining with Modern Dance

An Evening With the Kumeyaay

Constitutional Roundtable

The First Scientists Club

The Presidential Dinner

The Gatsby Cruise

On Trial

Students prepare for and perform a mock trial live or on video based on current events, literature, history, or any other conflicted situation. This Design Pattern lies in the intersection of the Venn diagram between judgment and persuasion.


It is common that learners play a role while accomplishing a judgment task. Excellent WebQuests of this type have been developed within a mock trial format. A well designed assignment of this type will either provide a rubric or other set of criteria for making the judgment, or require and support learners in creating their own criteria for evaluation. In the second case, it is important to get learners to explain and defend their system of evaluation.

Missionaries on Trial

You the Juror: Pigs vs. Wolf

The Trial of Louis Riel: Traitor or Hero?

Giving Pluto the Boot: Planet or Moon?

The Amistad Trial

Parallel Diaries

Write the diaries of two or more people in specific times and places while keeping to a common structure that shows their similarities and differences.


To compare and contrast two individuals or two places and/or periods in history; to develop point of view.

Witchcraft or Witchhunt?

Immigration Stories

Life on the Oregon Trail

F. Scott Firzgerald: The Real Gatsby?

How Are Native Americans Like Us?

US Policy in Latin America

America Then and Now

Simulated Diary

Write a daily account from the point of view of a particular individual in a specific time and place.


To develop understanding of a particular time and place or of a specific individual. To develop the concept of point of view.

Journey to Japan

Experiencing India's Caste System

Rediscovering Pompeii: The Untold Stories from 79

It's Only Cheating If You Don't Get Caught!

The Revolutionary War Through Journals

Exploring Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust of WWII

What was it like to grow up in the 1950s?

Blabberize a Biography

The Diary of John Wilkes Booth

Travel Account

Create an account of a trip as if you had actually taken it.


To develop knowledge of a particular time and place; to practice narrative writing.

A Time Traveler's Scrapbook of Ancient India

American Revolutionary War WebQuest

All Through Appalachia

The New Seven Wonders of the World

Party at the Capulets!

The Many Discoveries of Christopher Columbus

The Aztecs

Early Hawaiian Migration

The Great Journey Westward

Time Quest to Ancient Greece

Other Tasks

Instructional Purpose


This is the template to use when you can't find a design pattern to fit your needs. It is a WebQuest in the most general sense.


The generic template captures the most general model of what a WebQuest is. Each of the parts of the WebQuest (Introduction, Task, etc.) are described without any reference to a particular content area or type of learner outcome.

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