with a


The Problem

Your Task

A Sample

The Process








Design a Space Alien


Welcome to Design a Space Alien. Over the next few days you will participate in a very interesting process known as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL will help you and your classmates become better problem solvers using a real-world problem.

During a PBL experience, your teacher will no longer be your source of information. Instead, you will take an active part in finding information, and will be held responsible for your own learning. This might seem very different to you, but you will find this to be an exciting and rewarding way to learn.

Your teachers will provide learning resources as you move through the PBL process. Teachers might ask you questions even if they know the answer. They might ask “why?” two or three times in a row, so that you will explain your thinking. You should keep in mind that questioning an idea does not mean it is wrong. If you are wrong, correct your mistake.

Be certain to ask questions when you don’t understand something. You need to know that no idea is “stupid”, and that the only poor question is the one you fail to ask. As a student (the word comes from another word meaning "to study") you must take responsibility for making meaning from facts that you have gathered as part of the PBL process.

Because PBL depends strongly on cooperative group work, there are clear expectations for working with other students. Teachers will help you understand what it means to work cooperatively. They will make tasks and procedures clear, and help you learn how to work together equally and fairly to reach a common goal.

When you experience Problem-Based Learning:

  • You will become a better problem solver.
  • You will practice and improve both your written and oral communication skills.
  • You will use technology as a tool to gather information, draw conclusions, and communicate the results of your research.
  • You will become better at working as a member of a group.

Design a Space Alien

A WebQuest for grades 5-8:

Challenger Learning Center
at Prairie Aviation Museum


Challenger Learning Center
of Northwest Indiana

Support for program number HST-ED-90285.01-A was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

Copyright (c) 2007 Challenger Learning Center at Prairie Aviation Museum and Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana. Staff of Challenger Learning Centers and instructors of classes involved with Challenger Learning Center missions may reproduce this WebQuest guide for classroom and educational purposes. Otherwise this work may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transcribed, in any form or by means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without the prior written permission of the copyright owners.

This page is based upon the WebQuest model.

Last updated 7/16/2007