By Katherine Paterson

A WebQuest for Fifth Grade

Designed by

Sara Butz, Janna Isbell, and Heather Ruppert

Messiah College

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


Lyddie, written in 1991, is a historical fiction novel. Katherine Paterson, winner of two Newbery Medals, chose to focus this novel on the life of a girl in the 1840's. In this WebQuest, you will participate in creating an advertisement for Massachusetts. Indentured servanthood was common during Lyddie's time, and Lyddie surprisingly finds herself in the middle of this practice. Finally, Lyddie and her friends need a voice to help inform the public of their horrible working conditions.

The Task

The activities in this WebQuest are designed to increase your understanding of several themes in this book.

Summer Vacation

A Diary of Thoughts

Reporting the News

The Process

In this WebQuest, three activities are available for you to complete. Before you begin reading Lyddie, please complete the Summer Vacation activity. When you get to chapter 3, stop and read the activity titled, A Diary of Thoughts for specific directions. After completing the book, Reporting the News summarizes all that you have read and thought about. Remember, your projects will be graded on accuracy, creativity, and neatness.

Summer Vacation

Your boss, the magazine editor for Massachusetts Today, has asked you to create a one page advertisement for the state of Massachusetts. He has received many letters requesting advertisements that will draw summer vacationers to Massachusetts. The advertisement needs to show places to visit and explain reasons why people should travel to Massachusetts. He requests that you include a minimum of three pictures with captions, and a paragraph describing different places to visit. The paragraph needs to be at least eight sentences long, describing a minimum of 5 places to visit. Some examples are: parks, museums, historical land marks, zoos, places along the coast, etc. Remember, the advertisement is to be only one page, so be sure to make it colorful and attractive.

Please refer to the following websites for more information about Massachusetts:

A Diary of Thoughts

As you are reading chapters 3-6, take note of Lyddie's thoughts and feelings. Since she is unable to keep a diary during her busy stay at Cutler's Tavern, your task is to do so for her. You will need to have a total of eight entries, each entry needs to be at least five sentences. Be sure to include any thoughts, events, feelings, concerns, and opinions that may relate to Lyddie and her situation.

Please visit the following websites for help in completing this project:

Reporting the News

You are a newspaper reporter of the 1840's. After careful investigation, you discover horrible working conditions and low wages for factory workers. You decide to expose the factories for what they are doing by writing an article for the newpaper. Your article has to be at least 3 paragraphs long. Each paragraph must have at least 5 sentences. Remember, newspaper articles answer who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Please refer to the New York Times or USA Today webpages to gain knowledge on how newspaper articles should sound to a reader. It may be helpful to find a specific article that interests you and then read it to see how the author organizes it to make it interesting for readers.

For information regarding the working conditions of that time, please visit the following site:


Lyddie Rubric
Excellent (10-9) Good (8-7) Needs Improvement (6-0)
Organization Project is organized in a logical, sequntial manner. Some sequence and order is present. Project is lacking a sequential or logical order.
Content Contains all elements required.  Contains most elements required.  Little or none of the elements required. 
Accuracy All information presented is correct. Most information presented is correct. Little or no information presented is correct.
Writing Mechanics Less than 3 errors in grammar and spelling. Between 3 and 6 errors in grammar and spelling. Greater than 6 errors in grammar and spelling.
Creativity Ideas are presented in a unique and interesting manner. Interesting presentation but lacks a unique format. Ideas presented in an unexciting and uninteresting manner.
Neatness Lettering and artwork are beyond expectations for fifth and sixth grade students. Project is easy to read and clear. Artwork is reasonable for fifth grade students. Projects is difficult to read and artwork is poorly prepared.


Having completed this WebQuest, you will have a greater knowledge of Massachusetts, indentured servanthood, and the working conditions of the 1840's. You have also practiced applying the Internet to school related assignments.