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First Nations WebQuest
An Internet WebQuest on First Nations for Students


Picture this: you and a team of learners are presented with the task of describing an elephant. But instead of looking to an encyclopedia or a zoo exhibit, you are each blindfolded and guided to a real elephant. Each of you touches a different part of the animal: one, the soft and delicate tip of the elephant's trunk; another, the hard tusk of ivory; and a third, the wrinkled hide around the elephant's belly.

Based upon what each of you learned, one thinks an elephant is smooth and soft, another would say an elephant is smooth and hard, while the last would conclude that elephants are rough and soft. What's the truth? When we study complex topics, we are often like the elephant examiners: there's usually a lot more to a topic that we don't learn about after only a quick exploration.

This is particularly true when we use the Internet for our research because many people post their personal opinions or only know a sliver of the whole story. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about First Nations. Each person on your team will learn one piece of the puzzle and then you will come together to get a better understanding of the topic.

The Task

The Big Quest(ion) is: What were the similarities and differences between the lives of the members of two First Nations?

You will each be a member of a team:




    4-Clan Mother

You are to research both First Nations  listed below: 

  • Iroquoian 
  • Algonkian

You are to develop:

  • Games that the  children would play, 
  • A one day menu showing the foods usually eaten by each group. 
  • Models of the shelters in which the groups lived.
  • A description of the clothes usually worn by each group. 

The documents and models you create will form your study material for this unit of the course.

The Process and Resources

In this WebQuest you will be working together with the other students in our class. You will develop answers for the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about First Nations. 
You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone (No more than 2 course periods, please.)

Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? about both the Iroquois and the Algonquins. Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.

This constitutes your initial research. Your findings should be handed in to me as soon as they are completed. They are worth 20 marks for your group. Each member must complete the research in order for the group to get marks.

  • Canadian Museum of Civilization - The CMC's collections are especially rich in cultural artifacts created by many generations of Canada's First Nations. The CMC Web site offers a unique opportunity to access a sample of these artifacts illustrating their diversity, ingenuity and beauty.
  • Homes of the Past: The Archaeology of an Iroquoian Longhouse Where people live can give us great insight into the lives of the people who lived there. This site from the Royal Ontario Museum will let you explore an Iroquoian village and all of its components.
  • First Nations in Canada - The first chapter of this book describes the six major cultural regions of First Nations in Canada. These are: the Woodland First Nations, the Iroquoian First Nations of southeastern Ontario, the Plains First Nations, the Plateau First Nations, the First Nations of the Pacific Coast and the First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River basins.
  • First Nations Histories - This site includes detailed histories of over 40 First Nations in North America. It is filled with interesting details including: sub-nations, current bands, history, location, population, language, culture...

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives (No more than 2 class periods, please.)


1. Individuals from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

4-Clan Mother

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) based on what you have learned from the links for your role.

This section is worth 60 Marks for the group. In order to receive full marks, each member must complete his or her section.


1.As a Shaman, you will describe and illustrate the clothes usually worn by the:




1. As an Elder, you will choose foods and prepare a  menu for the:




1.As a Youth, you are to develop a game that the children would play



#4-Clan Mother

1.As a Clan Mother you are to develop a model of the shelter in which they lived.



Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of the First Nations. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

This section is worth 20 marks for your group.


So is an elephant smooth, rough, soft, or hard? Well, when you're blindfolded and only *looking* at one part, it's easy to come up with an answer that may not be completely right. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as First Nations: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of First Nations could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.


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