Explore More WebQuest–long term

This is your chance to investigate something that interests you. Research a topic. Find an issue that you want to explore. Investigate the Explore More Web site. And create a newspaper section that you can show to your family and friends.

Introduction: What you are doing on your WebQuest.

Task: What you are going to research and write.

Process: The steps you need to follow.

Explore More News Feature Section: What your finished product will be.

Introduction

Dear Rookie Reporter,

Think you're ready for a challenge? I want to review your responsibilities for our special section in the Explore More News. You realize that most of our readers wouldn't know a glow-in-the-dark bunny from a field of Bt corn. A wind turbine from a windmill. A fish kill from a fish net. The water cycle from a bicycle. You need to explain why they should care and why these are problems we need to tackle.

First, you are going to find an issue that interests you. Then you are going to research your topic and write several related articles. This is going to require your best reporting skills. I want our readers to know who is involved and what the issue is. You'll report on the topic, investigate a major issue, write our main editorial and more.

We go to press as soon as you finish. So go get your pen and paper and get to work.

Sincerely,

I. M. Thiboss

Managing Editor, Explore More News

 

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Task
I want you to learn about an issue related to one of the Explore More Web sites. You need to know who is involved, what is involved, why it is an issue, and all its future possibilities. You are going to take that knowledge and create an Explore More newspaper section that contains five types of articles. You will write a general news article, a human interest article, an issue article, an editorial, and letters to the editor.

In other words, you are going to select a topic, identify an issue related to that topic, investigate the people, information, problems and views related to this topic, and create a series of five articles that will let our readers know:

1. What the topic is. (This is the general news article that introduces the basics of the topic.)

2. Who is involved in this topic. (This is the human interest article that profiles an expert or stakeholder involved in the topic.)

3. What is an interesting or important issue of this topic. (This is an in-depth investigation of a compelling issue that relates to your topic.)

4. What is an informed position of this issue. (This is the editorial that takes a position and defends it with the facts.)

5. What are average citizens’ opinions of this issue. (These letters to the editor are from different readers with different views.)

A few reporting terms:
Remember, the topics are genetic engineering, energy, working landscapes, or water quality. Examples of subtopics within each major topic might be cloning, laws, or agriculture in genetic engineering. The issues are the really hot items. They might be "Should cloning be allowed for endangered species?" or "Should the federal government restrict medical research involving genetic testing?" or even "Will genetically engineered crops help or harm the environment?"

Expository writing is used in your general news, human interest and issue articles. Use your best reporting skills and look for the facts. Report what is true and be fair with your coverage of the subject.

Persuasive writing is used in your editorial. This is your opinion, but remember to back it up with the facts, statistics and examples you’ve learned in your research.

Letters to the editor? Well, use creative writing. By the time you get to this part of your WebQuest, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the general public knows and thinks about your topic. Create fictional people who might think these things and write to the local paper.

After you’re done writing your articles, you’ll have an Explore More News edition ready to publish!

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Process
There are several basic steps you will need to accomplish.

1. First, choose one of the Explore More topics and look through the Web site to get familiar with the topic of your choice.

2. Investigate the subtopics of your chosen topic. What interests you? Environment? People? Medicine? Laws? Business?

3. Pick an issue that interests you. Remember, an issue is one of those burning questions that really gets people thinking about your topic. This issue will be the focus of your Explore More News WebQuest.

4. Remember to think about your audience. Your audience will be the readers of the Explore More News. Ask yourself: Who is my audience? What do they need to know? Why should they care? Are they students? Adults?

5. Follow the instructions for each of the five articles (below).

6. Write your articles and have fun!

Explore More News Assignments

General News Article

Human Interest Article

Issue Article

Editorial

Letters to the Editor

General News Article

1. Choose a topic–select one of the Explore More Web sites for your research.

2. Investigate the topic and subtopics involved.

3. What general facts, information, statistics do you find? What are some of the major concerns about this topic?

4. Write an article that would explain the topic to readers.

Human Interest Article

1. Stakeholders are people who have something to lose or gain. When you think about your stakeholders, ask yourself why they care about your topic. They might have social, economic, political, religious, personal, or cultural reasons for feeling as they do. Find out about these people and how they feel. Look for people who have different opinions and views on your topic. What are your stakeholders' viewpoints? Why do they have these viewpoints? Make sure to look in the Viewpoints sections for video clips and transcripts. Research other sources for different viewpoints. (The other Web links are a great place to start.)

2. Find a stakeholder with an interesting viewpoint. Find out the background of the stakeholder and the "why" behind the viewpoint.

3. Write an article that explains the stakeholder’s situation and viewpoint in a fair and unbiased manner. Use quotes, facts, examples and statistics where needed.

Issue Article

1. Skim through the Web site to find the issues that interest you.

2. Take notes on issues that you find during your pre-research.

3. Do not limit yourself to what you see listed as an "issue." Choose something that interests you.

4. Write your issue as a question and then define your issue by explaining what it is to the reader.

5. Write an article that reports your issue. Find out the what, who, when, where, why, and how of it. Explain what the issue is, who is involved with this issue, why this is an issue, and why people should be interested in this issue (what causes people to have an opinion).

Editorial

1. Look at all you’ve learned about your topic, your chosen issue and the stakeholders. What do you think now that you know so much more?

2. What do you think about your issue? This is your turn to tell readers what you think should be done. Do you think the law needs to change? Do you think people need to take a more active role? Would you do things differently? Inquiring minds want to know. Tell us your opinion.

3. Write an editorial that logically explains your perspective. Present your case by using facts, statistics, examples and quotes to support your opinions. Give the readers reasons to agree with you and tell them what you want them to do.

Letters to the Editor

1. Up until now you’ve researched the facts, heard from the stakeholders, investigated the issues and explained your own opinions. Now it’s time to step back from your new knowledge and look at it from average readers’ perspectives. What would they be thinking? How would they feel? What are the opinions (both informed and uninformed) they would have?

2. As you write these letters to the editor, think of all the things you’ve learned. Think of all the misunderstandings or falsehoods or even myths related to your issue. What does the average person know? What does the average person think? What does the uninformed public think? What does the extremist, radical, or activist believe?

3. Be creative and come up with at least two fictional readers who might write to the editor to tell what they think. Create two differing positions of the issue you’ve discussed in your articles and write a letter from each person from their perspective. Remember to have them discuss something about your chosen issue.

Explore More News Section
You should now have a pretty good understanding of one Explore More topic and one issue related to that topic. You have formulated some opinions based on what you have learned and who you have gotten to know. You have even placed yourself in the shoes of the average citizen and have seen it from a new perspective. You have truly written an Explore More News edition of great value to your readers. How do you think new research will change your issue? Can you see your opinion changing as you get older?

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