Acid Rain Webquest


Why are the trees dying? How come there are no fish in the lake? Why does the paint on my Dad's car look so bad? Where does that terrible rotten egg smell come from in our school yard every Spring? The answer to these questions is simple; acid rain is responsible for many of the serious environmental problems facing us today. While the answer may be simple, solving the acid rain problem is not.

The Task

A local citizens' group has hired you, and a group of other researchers, to investigate acid rain. You will take on the role of either a Chemist, Ecologist, Health Scientist, or Economist and examine the issue from that perspective. Working within this team, you will create a web site detailing the problems caused by acid rain and recommending ways that these problems can be alleviated.

Within your group, decide who is going to assume the following roles. Use the questions appearing under each role to assist you in your research. While you are responsible for completing your section of the report, you will also be responsible for drawing up a series of recommendations, along with the other members of your team, on how to combat this serious issue.





While you are researching your particular area of concern, look for solutions to the problems caused by acid rain. While the final section of your report (the recommendations) will be drawn up by the entire group, you must be prepared to offer solutions in your specific area of concern.

Web Resources
ACE On-Line Fact Sheets - Air Quality and Acid Rain EPA Acid Rain Program
Acid Rain Acid Rain - The Norwegian View
The ABC's of Acid Rain Environment Canada - Acid Rain Homepage
Acid Rain at Thinkquest Acid Rain
Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment The National Park Service
Acid Rain - What is it and How is it Measured

Please do NOT search for 'Acid Rain' using a search engine - these sites have been chosen, after hours of searching, as the most suitable for the task.

The Task

The end product of this webquest will be the creation of a "web report" detailing the causes and effects of acid rain. Each "scientist" will be responsible for his/her section of the report while the recommendations and conclusions will be arrived at through the cooperative efforts of the entire group that you are working with.


  1. Get together with the other members of your group and decide who will assume the responsibilities of each of the four roles. Do some "brainstorming" on acid rain in order to come up with ideas for the focus of your "web report". Develop a plan of action to determine the organization, contents, and "look" of your web report. Know your main objectives and devise an outline of all the information your site will contain
  2. Using the sites listed in the Resource section, begin to research your project. Locate the information necessary to answer the questions listed under your role in the Task section. As you will be creating a web report, find some pictures that you can use to help illustrate the causes of acid rain and the problems that it creates.
  3. Take notes as you do your research. Bookmark any sites that you find useful so that you can refer to them again quickly if necessary. Keep in mind the rules defining plagiarism. Plagiarism occurs when you steal or use the ideas or writings of another and present these writings or ideas as your own. You are not allowed to borrow passages from books, or articles, or Web sites without identifying them - so include a bibliography at the end of your work.
  4. After you have completed your research, begin writing the first draft of your report. Make sure that you introduce your section so that the reader knows what you are writing about. Remember that you are writing a report about the problems caused by acid rain and not just a set of answers to a series of questions. Be aware of the reader - just because you understand what you are writing about doesn't mean that the reader does.
  5. Once each "scientist" has completed his/her section, meet with your group and present your draft findings. This is the time that you can ask the other members of your group for advice on revising your writing. Write your final draft.

Decide, as a group, what is your position on acid rain. Determine the recommendations and conclusions that your report will present. Determine which members of the group will be responsible for writing this section, and which members of the group will put all the pieces of the report together.


After having researched and written your report on acid rain, you should have a much clearer idea of the problems caused by this phenomenon. However, being aware of the problem is not enough. Perhaps you may feel that we should be doing more in solving this environmental issue. A good starting point would be to write a letter expressing your concerns to your Member of Parliament or to the local council.









Research & Gather Information


Collects a little information--some relates to the topic.
Collects some basic information--some relates to the topic.
Collects basic information--most relates to the topic.
Collects a great deal of information--all relates to the topic.
Share Equally



Rarely does the assigned work--often needs reminding.
Sometimes does the assigned work--often needs reminding.
Usually does the assigned work--rarely needs reminding.
Always does the assigned work without having to be reminded.
Cooperate with Teammates


Rarely cooperates.
Sometimes cooperates.
Usually cooperates with teammates.
Always cooperates with teammates.


No information given as to what to expect in report.
Some information given as to what to expect in report.
Adequate information given so that reader is aware of what report is about.
A very concise introduction which shows that the writer is very aware of the reader.

Answers a few of the questions assigned to the role in the WebQuest.
Answers some of the questions assigned to the role in the WebQuest.
Answers most of the questions assigned to the role in the WebQuest.
Answers all of the questions and includes many interesting facts.

Details some problems caused by acid rain but offer no recommendations.
Details some problems caused by acid rain and offers some recommendations.
Details many of the problems caused by acid rain and offers some recommendations.
Details many of the problems caused by acid rain and offers many recommendations.

Presents no explanation of research.
Presents an explanation of research but tends to be confusing or unclear.
Presents a logical explanation of research and some possible solutions.
Presents a superior explanation of research and offers many possible solutions.
Conventions of Print

Frequent grammar and spelling errors which make the writing difficult to understand.
Grammar and spelling errors do not detract from understanding the writing.
Grammar and spelling errors are infrequent, and writing is clear.
Grammar and spelling almost perfect, and writing is clear and concise.

Examples of Student Work:

Adapted (with permission) by Ray Le Couteur from a WebQuest developed by Gerald Robillard
Original Acid Rain Webquest