A WebQuest for 9th-12th Grade (Math, History, and Spanish)

Designed by:

Christy Blankenship
TJ McNellie
Jared Brush


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


Imagine what it is like to strike out on your own, sailing with the fastest wind to the edge of the world, and adventuring in strange lands where people live very different lives than your own. Can you imagine the stories you would be able to share after such a trip? What if you could talk to someone who had been on such an adventure? The Spanish conquistadors of the 1500s went on many such adventures and their stories are nothing less than fascinating. Along with your team, you will use Internet resources to investigate the travels of a Spanish explorer and organize a news report about him.

The Task

As a team, you will investigate the lives of early Spanish explorers and their methods of navigation by presenting a newscast of this time period.  You will also demonstrate an understanding of their impact on the indiginous cultures that they "discovered."Each individual task will require you to use the Internet to find information and then use that information to complete each task.

Each team will be assigned an explorer and complete the following tasks:

  • Conduct a mock-interview with your explorer. 
  • Develop a Weather/Travel section based on a map created by your team.
  • Construct a navigational tool called a quadrant and perform a commercial advertising this product.

The Process

The class will be divided into eight groups. Each group will have an explorer to research and report on in the form of a newscast. Your teacher will assign your team a specific explorer before you begin. Click on the link that corresponds to your explorer below. This will take you to a site with specific links that will lead you to information on your explorer.

1. For the interview part of the newscast, one student must be the reporter and the other must be the explorer. Use the information you have learned to create questions and answers that tell about the life and travels of your explorer. This interview should cover his family background, motivation for exploration, places traveled, peoples encountered, and any other interesting facts you would like to share. Be creative and try to fit the role of your explorer as best you can.

2. Next will be the weather/travel section of the newscast. Here your team will need to make a map based on what you have gathered from your research. It will show the locations and routes your explorer traveled. If you cannot find an exact route on the Internet, use your best judgment from the readings. Be sure to include a key to label objects you wish to represent. Do this section in the same style that you would see a weather report on the evening news. Discuss the climate in the area and cultural factors found there such as information on the Natives and their contact with the explorers.  Go here for climate information:

Go here for maps of North, South, and Central America:

You will find all other information using the links to the explorers.

3. Finally, your team will create a commercial advertising a navigational device known as a quadrant. Your team will learn what this tool is and how it was used by going to the following site:

Then your team must make a quadrant using the instructions provided here:

Once you know what a quadrant is and you have constructed it, make a commercial that advertises this product. Make sure to demonstrate how to use it and give information on why it is useful. Be creative in your attempt to convince the viewer that they need to buy a quadrant.

4. The final product will be a newscast production that your team will perform in class with the use the materials your team as created and any props you need. Use of electronic media (e.i. video/sound recordings, powerpoint, etc.) is strongly encouraged and will add to the creativity of your project. 

Click on your assigned explorer to research his life:

Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
Hernando de Soto
Ponce de Leon
Hernando de Cortes
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Coronado
Cabeza de Vaca 
Ferdinand Magellan


Students will be evaluated based on the following criteria.













Interview with your Explorer
All data is well organized. Facts about the explorer and the peoples he encountered are complete and accurate.  Correct use of grammar.  Shows creativity. 
Most of the data is well organized.  Most of the facts about the explorer and the peoples he encountered are accurate. Most  grammar is correct. Shows some creativity. 
Some of the data is organized correctly.  Includes some inaccuracies about the explorer.  Some errors in grammar occur. 
Weak organization of ideas. Many inaccuracies. Includes little essential information. Many errors in grammar. 

Map is labeled accurately and is very detailed. Extra items of interest are included. Map key is easy to read.  Map is visually striking. 
Most labels on map are accurate. Map key uses clear symbols.  Map is attractive. 
Some labels are accurate.  Not all items are included in map key.  Map is only somewhat attractive. 
Map has many areas labeled incorrectly.  Key is missing.  Map is not very attractive. 
Commercial for the Quadrant

Information is accurate and sales pitch indicates thorough research. Extremely clever and original.  Correct use of grammar. 
Most of the information was accurate.Sales pitch was good.  Creative ideas.  Most grammar is correct. 
Some accurate information.  Not very original. Several errors in grammar. 
.Needs Improvement:  No reference to any research. Many errors in information. Little creativity.  Many errors in grammar. 




Now that you have completed this webquest, you should have an understanding of the lives and travels of some prominant Spanish explorers during the Age of Exploration.  Have your thoughts changed about how the early explorers went about their journeys?  Would you have done something differently if you had been in the position of any of these men?  We must take into consideration the past to better prepare ourselves for the future.  You never know... maybe one day you will be an explorer!