The Great Discoverers

A Web Quest

by Andrew S. Basler

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Introduction  |  Task  |  Process  |  Evaluation  |  Conclusion  |  Teachers  |  Credits



   Behind every great discovery in history has been a great person.  These discoverers had the courage to look where other people were afraid to go.  They challenged the conventional wisdom of society, and they had faith in their own ideas.  Often, these discoverers had to overcome trials and adversity, and many died before they finished their work.  In this Web Quest, you will trace the footsteps of a great discoverer, and learn about the impact they have had on our history.



    Galileo                               Columbus                                 Newton                               Einstein



    First, you will watch the IMAX dvd "The Discoverers."  After watching the movie, you will choose a great discoverer to research.  After choosing your discoverer, you will use the internet to research and prepare a class presentation. The presentation will outline the life and contributions of your person, and how they changed the world.



    1.  First, watch the IMAX dvd "The Discoverers"  This movie will give you some background knowledge of some of the great discoverers and how they changed the world.

    2.  After watching the movie, use the following internet links to find a list of discoverers.  Browse the sites, and pick one to continue your research.  It can be any one of the people listed on the following two sites.

            Great Discoverers Website

            Great Scientists Website

    3.  Once you have picked the discoverer you want to research, use the links on the websites to find more information about your explorer.  Also, use the Google search engine to do your own research.  Start by doing a search on the person's name, and then branch out and search for events related to your person.  For example, if you choose Einstein, after searching his name, search other key words like "relativity."

            Google Search Engine

    4.  Use your internet research to prepare a short 5 minute class presentation on your explorer.  For the presentation, you want to give a brief summary of the discoverer's life (Birth, childhood, education, scientific work, etc.).  In addition, analyze the contributions of your discoverer by answering the following questions.  What contributions did they make to humanity?  How did your person change history?  Is the person's discovery still relevant today?  Also, take a look at the Evaluation Rubric so you know what you are being graded on.

    5.  If you have any questions, or need additional resources, ask the teacher for help.



Your grade will be based on the following oral presentation rubric:


Oral Presentation Rubric Possible Points Self-Assessment Teacher Assessment
Provided necessary background information.  Evidence of internet research. 25

Presentation was well planned and coherent. (Evidence of rehearsal), stayed within time limit (4-6 minutes) 25

Thoroughly answered questions, and gave extra depth and dimension to the discoverer . 25    
Communication Skills (eye contact, posture, clear voice, appropriate volume, transitions between speakers smooth, and all members presented) 25

Total Possible Points



Note that your grade is based on both the content of the presentation, and on the presentation performance.  Make sure that you answer the given questions in the process, and use good communication skills.




    Great discoverers change the face of our world.  They find new territories, theories, and fields of exploration.  They have changed history by introducing new ideas, and they have influenced the world order today by claiming land for their respective countries.  In essence, discoverers continue to change the world even today.



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Education World (2004).  Great Scientists.  Retrieved January 29th, 2004 from

Engels (2004).  Discoverers Web.  Retrieved January 29th, 2004 from

Slingshot.  (1993).  The Discoverers [dvd].  Imax:  Toronto, Canada.




Grade Band -   9-12, World History

Tennessee State Curriculum Standards: World History

    6.3 understand the extent to which individuals, groups and institutions interact to produce continuity and change throughout world history.

Preceding and Ensuing events of Instruction:  Before beginning this Web Quest, the teacher should show the IMAX dvd "The Discoverers" (45 mins).  The dvd is available for purchase online at .  The student should be able to complete all of the internet research by themselves.  However, it might be helpful to go over some search engine tips before beginning this project.  The teacher can make this project as long or short as necessary. It is suggested that the teacher allow the students at least a day between research and presentation. This web Quest is designed to allow for research and oral presentation, however, the teacher might consider making the quest a paper, instead of an oral presentation.  Also, the web quest may be completed individually, or as a group project.   

Purpose of Web Quest:  To promote understanding of the role of individuals in history.  To promote internet research skills, and the use of the internet as a viable and reliable research tool.  To promote oral presentation skills.  To promote critical thinking skills through analyzing past events for present relevance.  



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