Acid Rain Web Quest


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 one or more roles as a Chemist, Ecologist, Health Scientist or Economist and examine the issue from that perspective. Working within your Web Quest Team, you will create a report detailing the problems caused by acid rain and recommending ways that these problems can be alleviated.

Within your team, decide who is going to assume the four 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

ARIC's Acid Rain Teaching Pack

EPA's Clean Air Market Programs

Acid Rain

Acid Rain FAQ

The Acid Rain Collaborative Project

Acid Rain Data and Reports

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program

Acid Rain via Wikipedia

The Process and Learning Advice

The end product of this webquest will be the creation of a report detailing the causes and effects of acid rain. Each Web Quest Team member will be responsible for his/her section(s) of the report while the initial section, abstract, final recommendations and reference list will be arrived at through the cooperative efforts of the entire Web Quest Team.

  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 report. Develop a plan of action to determine the organization, contents, and "look" of your report. Know your main objectives and devise an outline of all the information your paper 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 paper, 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. You are not allowed to borrow passages from books, or articles, or Web sites without identifying them in the list of references.
  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, so write for non-scientists, especially in the initial statement and joint conclusion.
  5. Once each Web Quest Team member 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 your position on acid rain will be. 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. If the Team disagrees, a dissension statement is required which outlines the reasons for the other perspective.


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 local elected officials.


Each Web Quest Team member can receive a maximum of 5 extra credit points for completing this Web Quest. Three points shall address the perspective statement created by each individual Team member, and two points shall address the group work used to complete the paper.

Grading shall be based on neatness, spelling errors, accuracy of information gathered, quality of list of references, and similar criteria. In addition, each participant shall anonymously complete an evaluation form for each Team member which will affect the final grade.

WebQuest originally developed by Gerald Robillard at Our Lady of Peace School in Laval, Quebec, Canada and adopted as appropriate by Michael Russell at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, USA