The Fresh Water WebQuest

by Jerry W. Kousen, Hobart High School
Introduction · Question · Background Info · Individual Roles · Group Process
Rubric · Conclusion · Teacher's Guide


As a group you're going to explore the topic of Fresh Water. Each member of your team will become an expert in one part of 'Committee to Protect Our Water'. Then you'll have to come back together to answer a question that gets to the heart of 'what's the truth and who says so?' We want you to do a good job. Good Luck.


The Question

The main question you will be asked to find an answer for is:
You're HOT and THIRSTY. A cool tall glass of water would be great right now. As you fill your glass under the faucet you need to ask yourself the following question: 'Is this water clean and safe to drink? Are you really sure? How?'Use your assigned role to be responsible and do your part for clean water.


Background Information

Before becoming an expert on one aspect of this topic, we'd better make sure that everyone on your WebQuest team knows the basics. Use the links below to answer the six general questions: who? what? where? when? why? and how? Make sure everyone on your team can answer all the questions before moving into your individual roles.
Fresh Water Ecology
General Resources



Individual Roles

Now that you have some overall background knowledge, it's time to return to the main question for this WebQuest. Questions this big and important are better answered when a few people are working on it at one time. Things work even better when a group of you decide to look at the question from different perspectives. This way team members can become experts on different aspects of the question and then come together to poll their learning. This is where team work pays off. So are you ready to divide and conquer this question?

Chemist at Department of Water Works
Use the links below to learn more about your role. Specifically, look for answers to the following questions:

1)What is safe drinking water? Any standards?

Students are teaming up around the globe to test fresh water.
Join us in this collaborative project and compare the water quality of your local river, stream, lake or pond with other fresh water sources around the world.

Water Science for Schools
Great maps and interactive site

A Fresh-Water Contaminants Guide
Great map site and photo essays


Chef in major restaurant
Use the links below to learn more about your role. Specifically, look for answers to the following questions:

1)What is your role as a chef to cook food and be aware that your water is safe? Lawsuits?

Drinking Water Systems
Fresh Water Systems (FWS) supplies water treatment equipment to the home and business markets in Southern California and Nevada and supplies products throughout the world.


Concerned Citizen on Water Safety
Use the links below to learn more about your role. Specifically, look for answers to the following questions:

1)Don't take your role as a concerned citizen lightly. Demand good drinking water. How can you be sure? Know your rights..

Bill aims to shore up Clean Water Act
Despite the Clean Water Act, 38 percent of the freshwater ecosystems in the United States are not fit to swim in or fish.


Politician up for re-election
Use the links below to learn more about your role. Specifically, look for answers to the following questions:

1)Who are you lobbing for? Oil companies or the concerned citizen. Make your stand. Big dollars or environmentalist.What can you do to provide the public good clean drinking water?

Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law that protects our nationís waters, including lakes, rivers, aquifers and coastal areas.

The Clean Water Action Plan

EPA says U.S. economy depends on clean water


Use the links below to learn more about your role. Specifically, look for answers to the following questions:

1)You buy your license to hunt and fish? What can you do to make sure you can eat the fish you catch? Do you have any pull on the laws or politicians about policy?

Most endangered rivers of 2000 listed
'These rivers all have problems connected to the way people have managed them,'


Maps, diagrams, etc. of South Carolina Coast

South Carolina Outdoors
Most up to date outdoor news from the SC DNR.



Group Synthesis

Congratulations! Your team is now full of expertise. Each person (or pair) on your team have become experts on the topic of Fresh Water. You've all learned a lot of information. But guess what, gathering useful information isn't the same as truly understanding a topic. What experts in the field of learning suggest is that you now use that information in a new and challenging way. Then you'll really know about fresh water.

So with you team members all gathered together, carefully read and try answering the main question for this WebQuest. See where you all agree and where differences arise.

Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should develop a power point presentation explaining and defending your position to the main question.  This presentation will be presented to the class.

EE Activities - Water
Links on this page are for activities and materials dealing with issues related to fresh water--preservation of wetlands and watersheds, pollution, and water quality protection.



Real World Feedback:
      How does chlorine added to drinking water kill bacteria and other harmful organisms? Why doesn't it harm us?



At the beginning of this activity, you were asked about your drinking water safety. Did you discover how safe your fresh water really is? Was there more to it than you thought? Did everyone on your team think that all water is clean and safe to drink? How did you answer the main question for this WebQuest?
You deserve a lot of praise for all the work you've done. And so does your brain. You've sure put that gray stuff to the test. You gained background information, developed expertise about fresh water and got into some pretty expert analysis. At times, you must have felt confused with ideas spinning every which way. That's normal when you're building new mental connections. It's funny, with each link between what you already knew and the new learning going on, you broke another different kind of link.How will you use these ideas and strategies as you continue to grow and learn? It's all up to you. Good luck.