The Majestic Midwest
Teacher Page

A WebQuest for 4th Grade Social Studies

Designed by
Renée Peront


Introduction | Learners | Standards | Process | Resources | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Student Page



This WebQuest was created as part of an educational technology class at Pacific University. The WebQuest was to focus on a social studies topic relevant to a specific grade level. Since one of my student teaching placements is in fourth grade, I chose to design a WebQuest about the U.S. states as it is a topic studied in this grade.

This WebQuest provides students with a fun and creative opportunity to explore extensively one of the Midwestern states. They then are to work cooperatively in pairs or teams to research and design a travel brochure as a means to display their information. The final product should demonstrate a thorough exploration of a specific state and a better understanding of the Midwest region.


This lesson is designed for fourth grade social studies as it focuses on U.S. states which is generally taught at this level. This lesson could be adapted for additional grades by having them research and design brochures for other places that they are studying whether it be the thirteen colonies or another country. The specifics of what to include in the brochure may need to be adjusted depending on the topic however the general idea would stay the same.

Prior to starting this lesson, students will need to have had some experience using the internet as well as had some instruction on research and note taking. It would also be beneficial for the students to have a basic understanding of the U.S. states and regions so that they have an overall understanding of this topic before taking a more indepth look at one particular state.

Curriculum Standards

Below are the curriculum standards addressed in this WebQuest:

Social Studies Standards Addressed

  • Identify and locate major landforms, bodies of water, vegetation, and climate found in regions of the United States.
  • Identify the type of economic activity, population distribution, and cities found in regions of the United States.

Technology Standards Addressed

  • Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.

In addition to the above standards this lesson also encourages thinking and communication skills including: cooperative teamwork and creative design.


This lesson is designed to be completed in one to two weeks, depending on how much time is allotted each week. The research will take about an hour, the writing and rough draft stage probably another two hours, and the actually designing and creating the final copy will be close to another hour. This may vary depending on the pace at which students work so you might need to monitor and adjust as needed.

1.You first need to assign the students to teams of two or three. This lesson works best with teams of two however, depending on the class size some teams of three may be necessary as there are only twelve states. The actual assigning of the teams and states can be done in a variety of ways depending on preference. Students and states could be assigned randomly, decided by you, or the students could choose.

2. Students then need to begin researching the information presented below. The below information is a general guideline as to what students are to include in their brochure, however if there is a particular area you want emphasized or additional information included, you can always add it.

What are the average temperatures and precipitation? What is the typical weather (rain, sun, wind, snow) for each season?
Major Cities (1-2)
What are the major cities? Where are they located?
National Parks/ Monuments (1-2)
What is there to do and see at each? What is the history or importance of each? Where is each located?
Major Landforms (1-2)
What are the major landforms (lakes, rivers, prairies, plains, etc.)? Where are they located? What is a fact about each?
Tourist Attractions (1-2)
What are the major tourist attractions (malls, amusement parks, museums. etc) in your state? Where is each located? What is there to do at each?
Resources/ Industries (5)
What does the state produce? Examples include: corn, cattle, lumber, poultry, rice, timber, dairy, etc.
Basic Facts
What is the state capital, bird, nickname, flower, or tree?

Here are websites for students to use to gather information on their state. Information could also be collected from other sources including encyclopedias and other reference books.

North Dakota
South Dakota

3. After students collect their information, they need to organize it into short paragraphs about each topic. Have students self-edit and check for correct punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Depending on your students experience editing their own work, you may want to include an editing checklist or you could also encourage teams to exchange their work with other teams for peer editing. Also at this stage, students may need some guidance on how much information to include. A brochure does not have a lot of room for every little detail so students need to be selective in what they include.

4. Next students need to design the layout of their brochure. It might be helpful to have a variety of travel brochures available for students to look at so that they have a better understanding of how brochures are organized and designed. Provide them with a blank white sheet of 8.5 x 14 paper. Students may need guidance on how to fold their paper into thirds reflecting the typical tri-fold look of brochures. Students then should use a pencil to create a rough draft of their brochure. Some things for them to consider:

What will they put on the front of their brochure that will attract the reader?
How will they place their text (information)?
Where will they place their pictures and map? What will their pictures be of?
What information will they group together on each page?
How much information can they include about each topic so that they have enough room to include everything requested by the MTA?

Once teams have agreed on the layout of their brochure, pair them up with another team to look over it and make suggestions.

5. Once they have decided on their layout and it has been shared with another team, provide students with another sheet of white 8.5 x 14 paper and begin. For the final copy of the brochure, you may want to have heavier/nicer paper available for students to use. Remind students that this should reflect their best work as it will be the brochure that is presented to the MTA.


When this lesson was designed the original thought was that students would draw their own pictures/map and they would write the text. However, if their are enough computers, you may want to have students print out their pictures and type up the text, or even provide them with the option of either way. This lesson can also be adapted for different regions of the United States or even broaden it to the whole country wher each student is assigned their own state.

 Resources Needed

Resources/supplies needed for this WebQuest include:

  • Computers with internet access
  • Paper (8.5 x 14)
  • Art materials (markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue)
  • Sample travel brochures

This lesson can be completed under the guidance of the classroom teacher. Some students may need assistance with researching, but the majority of students should be able to work independently so additional adult guidance is not needed.


Students will be evaluated individually on their cooperation and participation as part of their team. They will also be evaluated on the content, organization, conventions and visual appeal of their brochure. Below is the rubric for scoring the process and final product of this WebQuest.













Brochure contains some of the required information with little supporting details and descriptions.
Brochure contains some of the required information with supporting details and descriptions.
Brochure contains all required information with little supporting details and descriptions.
Brochure contains all required information with supporting details and descriptions.





Writing is hard to follow. Sections are missing clear beginnings and ends. Paragraph breaks and transitions are not present.
Writing is easy to follow. Not all sections contain a beginning and end. Paragraph breaks and transitions are not present or are not effective.
Writing is easy to follow. Each section contains a beginning and end. Effective paragraph breaks and transitions have been attempted.
Writing is easy to follow. Each section contains a beginning and end. Effective paragraph breaks and transitions are present.





Brochure contains 7 or more errors (punctuation, grammar, spelling, capitalization)
Brochure contains 5-6 errors (punctuation, grammar, spelling, capitalization)
Brochure contains 3-4 errors (punctuation, grammar, spelling, capitalization)
Brochure contains 2 or less errors (punctuation, grammar, spelling, capitalization)


Visual Appeal/ Layout


Brochure is sloppy and does not demonstrate student's best work. Pictures not present.
Some parts of brochure are sloppy and layout of pictures and information is not visually effective.
Brochure is attractive and neat however layout of pictures and information is not visually effective.
Brochure is attractive and neat. Pictures and information are presented clearly and effectively.


Cooperation/ Participation
Student is disruptive to the group and does not contribute to the final brochure.
Student is present in the group but contributes very little to the final brochure.
Student works cooperatively with other group members and contributes minimally to the final brochure.
Student works cooperatively with other group members and contributes to the final brochure.


I hope that through this WebQuest your students will gain a better understanding of the Midwest region of the United States and the important characteristics particular to their state including landforms, resources, climate, and attractions.

Credits & References

Enchanted Learning
World Almanac for Kids
The US 50
National Park Service

Last updated on December 14, 2007. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page