Jazz Webquest
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Ki Thomas

Mrs. Johnson

Webquest Project





            Jazz is such an important era in the development of Western music.  The performers of that time revolutionized jazz music so much that when we hear their music, we hear the heart and soul of the performers.  However, many people are not exposed to Jazz music and are not aware of the contributions that the performers of this time gave to the world.  Through this WebQuest, the students, collaborating in groups, will have a more broadened knowledge of what Jazz is, when it developed, and who was made a star and a legend.



The students will be engaged in gathering information about the lives, accomplishments, career and music of three of the greatest jazz musicians of all times.  The students will divide up into 3 equal groups of 3, where each individual in the groups will assume one of the following roles: biographer, performance booker, and a geographer.  The teacher will assign each student his/her role as she sees fit.  Students will be given 4 class periods to work on his individual role.  On the fifth day, the groups will reunite, sharing with each other their findings.  At this point of the WebQuest, the groups will choose one of the performers to create a Powerpoint presentation on.  This decision will be up to the groups, unless a decision cannot be made unanimously and fairly.  A music selection from the performer of the group's choice will be played at the end of each presentation.




1.     Internet

2.     Handout of the jazz musicians

3.     CD's of songs from the musicians(Teacher will provide these)

4.     Handout on how the PowerPoint presentation will be graded

5.     Handout given tips on how students should go about working together as a team, making decisions based on everybody's preferences



Website Links:

1.     Duke Ellington’s Biography      

2.     Various Jazz ArtistsEBiographies

3.     Billie Holiday’s Biography

4.     Billie Holiday’s Biography Page

5.     Louis Armstrong’s Biography Page

6.     Jazz Online



1.     Choose 2 people to work with.

2.     Decide upon the roles in your group.

3.     Each individual will do Internet research on his topic using provided links, and recording all findings.

4.     The group will reunite, discussing and brainstorming their findings.

5.     The group will then choose one of the 3 jazz musicians to create a PowerPoint presentation on.




1.     Biographer- The biographer is the person responsible for collecting information on the musician's background.  All of the questions related to this topic are to be answered and included in the PowerPoint presentation.  If there is something else that was not included in the questions about the background that seems to be interesting, the biographer may include this.


2.     Performance Booker:-The Performance Booker is the person responsible for collecting information on when the person performed.  Give the dates and the songs and names of people that the person performed with.  All of the questions related to this topic are to be answered and included in the PowerPoint presentation.  Again, anything interesting may be added if it was not listed in the questions.


3.     Geographer:- The Geographer is the person responsible for collecting information on where the person performed and toured.  Give the names of these places and dates. All of the questions related to this topic are to be answered and included in the PowerPoint presentation.  Interesting information not included in the questions may also be included in the PowerPoint presentation.   *Note: The Geographer and the Performance Booker may realize that their jobs coincide.  It is okay for the two of you to share ideas while you are researching.  However, both persons will have to do his/her own research and not leaving one to do all of the work.



1.     Since each individual will be responsible for playing his role for all 3 jazz musicians, only do those questions that apply to your role. (Ex. If you are a biographer, only look up those questions that pertain to the musician's family, birth, death, and when the person's career began.  This will save a lot of time.  Set aside a time to highlight those questions that you are doing research on.


2.     When choosing what role each member wants to be, take a secret ballot, where each person writes down his or her preference.  If two people want to be the same person, ask them their second preference.  If this decision cannot be made within the group, ask the teacher to appoint roles.


3.     Before the group reunites, make copies of your findings for your teammates.  This will save time and allow the discussion part of the WebQuest to efficient and productive.(The teacher will provide access to the copier before school or anytime that is available for both teacher and student).


4.     When deciding on who the PowerPoint presentation should be on, allow everyone to express his/her preference and give supporting ideas on their preference.  Choose the musician who is the most popular among all three team members.


5.     When putting together the presentation, create and delegate roles.  This way everyone will have a job and no one will have to the work alone.  If this cannot be done within the group, ask for suggestions from your teacher.




Evaluation: At the conclusion of our WebQuest, the students will be evaluated on their PowerPoint presentations.  In the presentation, the following elements will be graded:


·        Organization of information

·        Legibility of letters

·        Are there graphics included?

·        Are there any distracting elements on the slides

·        Is the background appropriate? Does it add to the presentation or take away from the presentation?

·        Does the information on each slide correlate with the purpose of each slide?

·        Neatness

·        Does each person talk during the presentation?

·        Is the group prepared?

·        Was a musical selection presented?




          This WebQuest is an exciting and beneficial way for students to gain a more knowledgeable understanding of the Internet and Jazz.  In today's classroom the problem of challenging our students to be creative and leaders, and active learners is very real.  This lesson gives them a chance to be all of these things.  My challenge for my students is that they will not limit themselves to only doing what is assigned, but take the time to the same type of lesson, on different topics that interest them and benefit their lives in some way.  Hopefully, they will do this and never stop.