Transforming Traditional Activities

To survive on the prairie, pioneers had to modify their old ways and learn new skills.

We need to do the same thing on the cyberfrontier. For example, rather than relying on 'store-bought' supplies, pioneers made their own soap, candles, and quilts. Can you think of new, interesting ways to use the tools of the cyberfrontier?


Create your own activities and web pages:

Activity 1: Explore Web-based Resources and Activities
Use the 42eExplore site. Each page contains an easy and hard definition, activities, and selected websites. Can the resources and information at the websites be integrated into classroom activities?
Activity 3: Locate Resources
Explore a book and brainstorm topics. Use the following starting points and resources for ideas.
Starting Points





Homework Central


Ask Jeeves

Kathy Schrock



Blue Web 'n


AOL for Kids


Schoolwork Ugh


Busy Teacher

Let's Find Out

Kid's Search Tools

Education World


Research It

Early Childhood Links

Current Events Resources

USA Today



Local News

Junior Scholastic

Yahooligans News

Time for Kids

New York Times for Kids

Wall Street Journal - School

Associated Press


BBC for Kids

Yak's Corner - Magazine

US News Online


Current Events Resources - Grades 4-5

Global Access - Middle School News Sources

Arts and Letters Daily



Weather Channel


Reference Resource Links Pages

Reference Links - Grade 4-5

Reference Links

Reference Resources

My Virtual Reference Desk

Reference Desk Links


Cyber Reference Desk

Research It

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Almanacs

Little Explorers Picture Dictionary

Yahooligan's Almanac

Let's Find Out

Information Please

Information Please for Kids

Science Dictionary



Smithsonian Encyclopedia

Instrument Encyclopedia

World Fact Book

Funk and Wagnalls

Word Central

Farmer's Almanac

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Rhyming Dictionary

Acronym Finder

Casey's Reverse Dictionary

Merriam Webster Online


Synonym Dictionary

Online Grammars

Semantic Rhyming Dictionary

Visual Thesaurus


Barlett's Quotations

The Quotations Page

Roget's Thesaurus

Yahoo Quotes


42eXplore Poetry Resources

Reference Resources

Discovery Channel


Little Explorer

Virtual Pond Site

GORP: Great Outdoor Recreation Pages

The Why Files

Activity 4: Create Writing Activities
Brainstorm lists of things you find on the prairie, what you would bring in your wagon, places in Illinois, animals of the prairie, or plants of the prairie. Ask students to elaborate on one element of the list, categorize items, or add description.
Create "chain-writing" projects. For example, each person adds to a story, journal, or letter. Write about science experiments.
Start a short poem. Go to the Research-It site. Find a rhyming word to use in your poem.

Activity 5: Use Data Management and Calculation

Brainstorm databases that could be developed such as a wildflower, chore, animal, or prairie town database.
Brainstorm spreadsheets that could be created such as a weather forecasting, plant inventory, or soil testing spreadsheet.


Activity 6. Integrate Varied Channels of Communication: audio, video, graphics
Go to the wildlife site and copy a picture and/or a sound. Put this resource into a word processing document, HyperStudio stack, Kidpix file, or Powerpoint presentation.
Or, select a piece of electronic clip art and paste it into a word processor, graphics, or multimedia software package. Modify the picture to create a new prairie animal or plant. Write a poem or story about your picture. Or, invent a math problem.
Activity 7: Focus on Natural and Historical Museums
Explore student-produced museums such as the Illinois Museum Project. Brainstorm ways to create your own.
Activity 8: Explore Books
Match books and Internet resources. Explore a book. Brainstorm pioneer & prairie topics. Identify outcomes. Locate 1-5 sites. Create an activity.
Use the Literature Ladders website to find links to Newbery, Caldecott, and other popular books.
  • Literature of Your Own
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days by Mary Cobb
  • Prairie Born by Dave Bouchard
  • Pioneer Workshop by Judy Cole & Mary Minturn
  • Prairie Songs by Pam Conrad
  • Black-Eyed Susan by Jennifer Armstrong
  • The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman
  • Buffalo Thunder by Patricia Wittmann
  • Fun with Nature
  • Gardening Wizardry for Kids by L.Patricia Kite
  • 365 Nature Crafts & Activities
  • First Field Guide Wildflower by National Audubon Society
  • Canoe Days by Gary Paulsen
  • Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
  • Weslandia by Paul Fleischman 
Return to Workshop Page
Creating WebQuests

Developed by Annette Lamb, 10/99.