The Little Things
Teacher Page

A WebQuest for 8th Grade (Science, Music, and Physical Education)

Designed by

Chris Barry, Jeremy Drake, Juanita Philyaw, and Kris Weatherman,,,

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


This Webquest was developed for Dr. Kyle Messner's and Dr. Susan Wegmann's Fall 2001 CI 3850 (Literacy, Technology, and Instruction) class at Appalachian State University.

This project is also being used to fulfill the North Carolina Advanced Technology Competencies for Educators and potential educators. As demonstration of our technological savvy, we have put our rationales for those competencies met with this Webquest here.

The emphasis of the lesson is on the combination of parts into wholes, culminating in a more unified vision of the world for students. This concept of small elements making a working whole can be applied to all subjects, from fractions in math to cell biology. In this WebQuest, we have focused on geology, music, and team sports.


This lesson is anchored in the North Carolina standards for 8th-grade science, music, and physical education. The basic concept of the lesson - parts making wholes - can be adapted to any subject and any grade level, from the combination of colors to make different colors in kindergarten to complex forces acting upon objects in senior high school physics.

In the WebQuest as we have designed it, learners will need to know certain skills before taking on the challenges. In science, they will need to know how to use Microsoft Word to make a table. In music, they will need to be familiar with music notation, notes, and basic performance on piano or recorder. In physical education, the students will need to be able to participate in the planning and/or execution of a physical activity.

Curriculum Standards

In this lesson, students will learn that parts make wholes on many different levels in many different subjects. Consequently, the lesson meets standards from several of North Carolina's 8th-grade curricula, including the Computer/Technology Skills Curriculum.

Science Standards addressed
- Competency Goal 3.01: Interpret ways in which rocks, fossils, and ice cores record Earth's geologic history and the evolution of life.

Music Standards addressed
- Competency Goal 2.01: Play at least one instrument with appropriate posture, playing position, and technique.
- CG 2.05: Show respect for the instrumental playing efforts of others.
- CG 4.01: Compose short pieces using the basic elements of music to demonstrate repetition and contrast, and tension and release.
- CG 4.03: Use a variety of sound, notational, and technological sources to compose and arrange music.
- CG 4.04: Show respect for the composing and arranging efforts of others.
- CG 5.02: Read melodic notation in the treble and bass clefs.
- CG 5.04: Use standard symbols to notate meter, rhythm, pitch, and dynamics in simple patterns.
- CG 5.05: Show respect for the reading and notating efforts of others.

Physical Education Standards addressed
- Consequences of behavior
- Critical elements of movement
- Fair play and sportsmanship
- Working cooperatively
- Competency Goal 9 : The learner will demonstrate an understanding and respect for differences among people in physical activity settings.
- Competency Goal 10 : The learner will demonstrate responsible personal and social behavior in physical activity settings.
- CG 10.01 Solve problems in physical activity settings by analyzing causes and potential solutions.
- CG 10.03 Work cooperatively with a group to achieve group goals in competitive as well as cooperative settings.
- CG 10.05 Consistently engage in fair play and sportsmanship behaviors during physical activity.

Computer/Technology Skills Standards addressed
- Competency Goal 1.2: Demonstrate an understanding of copyright by citing sources of copyrighted materials in papers, projects, and multimedia presentations.
- CG 2.1: Create/modify and print a database report.
- CG 3.1 Select and use technology tools to collect, analyze, and display data.
- CG 3.2: Use word processing/desktop publishing for assignments/projects.
- CG 3.3: Research, create, publish, and present projects related to content areas using a variety of technological 
- CG 3.4 Create/modify and use databases relevant to classroom assignments.
- CG 3.9 Conduct online research and evaluate the information found as to the validity, appropriateness, content, and usefulness.

This lesson doesn't just teach standards, but encourages several other types of activity and thinking. As these are group activities, teamwork, cooperation, and respect of others is encouraged. The three Challenges provide many opportunities for critical thinking and analysis. The Final Project emphasizes creative production.


Here is the process as given to the students:

"You will be randomly assigned into groups of four, each with an equal part to play in the WebQuest. Your group will work together on four separate challenges:

Challenge One - Science
Challenge Two - Music
Challenge Three - Sports
Challenge Four - The Final Project
Each challenge page will contain instructions on what is to be done, how it is to be presented, and the individual processes."

This lesson is designed to be interdisciplinary and will thus require cooperation between teachers within a school. All of the activities given in the first three challenges can be done within one or two class periods; the fourth challenge, the creative project, will need to be given at least a week for "creative gestation."

This is intended to be a group experience for students. We have recommended groups of four. One suggested method of breaking up students is to break them up so that many different interests are reflected in each group. As this WebQuest focuses on science, music, and sports, it might be advisable to have at least one group member who is interested in at least one of those categories in each group.

This lesson requires some experience with tying class activities to larger concepts. The idea of parts making wholes is a lofty one, and one that students might not necessarily apply outside of class unless it is made clear that it is present everywhere. Experience in resolving conflicts would probably help, as group projects sometimes have personality conflicts.


This lesson can be carried out in many other subjects, and as always, cooperation between teachers is needed to coordinate efforts successfully. A few examples are given above; it is conceivable to have students study "The Little Things" in all subjects at once. Another possibility is to focus on one of our challenges - geology, music, or sports - in more detail and modify the creative final project such that it reflects another example of parts and wholes in that area.

Resources Needed

The lesson will require certain materials in the different subject areas.
Science - access to computers for Internet and word processing
Music - easy access to piano or recorders; printer for printing worksheets
Physical Education - large tarp or sheet and one hula hoop for each group. 
Final Project - students govern this project, so resources will be limited to the school's resources

The Challenge 3 (Sports) page lists and as resources for further team-building exercises for teachers.

As far as human resources, the lesson requires at least one teacher, preferably one or more from each of the subject areas. Aides can be useful in retrieving or suggesting resources, especially for the creative portion.


The potential success of this lesson is not necessarily easy to judge. Students can complete the material objectives, but whether or not they carry anything from the lesson is the tougher question. The ultimate evidence of success in "The Little Things" is that students begin to relate little things to working wholes more in everyday life, from processes in school to the way nature works to human relationships. This is not something that can be quantified, much to the chagrin of the administration . . .

The rubric (subject to change by individual teachers) as given to the students for the material objectives is on the Main Page Evaluation section.


"The Little Things" is a lesson that involves lots of faith - faith in teacher cooperation, faith in students' abilities, faith in application of knowledge to the real world and not simply for grades. Hopefully, what the student will come away with is a view of the world as a whole made up of parts; each of those parts is made up of smaller parts, and so on. By understanding the smaller parts and how they combine, we can understand how larger concepts and objects work, thus making learning and working and playing more interesting and relevant.

Credits & References

For credits of pictures and other material used on this site, refer to the Main Page Credits.

Last updated on November 5, 2001. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page