| Introduction | Task | Process | Resources & Expert's Page | Evaluation |



Expert Needed Immediately!

News Release from the United Nations:

(New York City, NY) Last year, the United Nations approved funds for the building of a new scientific study center. This new center, to be called the United Nations Geological Survey, was modeled after the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The UN has rejected all proposals that were made in the last year. "I have never seen so many boring and inappropriate locations for a proud new building!", stated Dr. Roberts, the UNGS Project Leader. "We need people with open and creative minds to help select the new location! Students across the world will now have the opportunity to help the United Nations Geological Survey!"

Last year, Professor Billy-Bob Roberts wanted to build a new Geological Survey building for the United Nations. Dr. Roberts adamantly feels that the UNGS (United Nations Geological Survey) building must be built on a mountain of respectable stature and fame. Over the last year groups of adult specialists have tried to find appropriate locations, but none of the locations satisfied Dr. Roberts and the UNGS. Thus, the UN has decided to turn this location search over to young and flexible minds; those of the youth of the world. After much discussion and many arguments, international committees of adult dignitaries have whittled the list of mountain locations down to four possible sites.

Now that your group has a firm scientific understanding about the ground upon which you stand, your group has been hired to evaluate each mountain site based off of a list of necessities, comfort, safety, geological history (Dr. Roberts HATES earthquakes), elevation limits, and ease of transportation to the building. Your group must decide which location will be the best new location site for the new UNGS building. Once your group has analyzed the four locations and selected what you feel is the best, you will present your information via a PowerPoint presentation to the United Nations Board of Directors.

Download Letter as PDF document:

Your group's task is to divide up the four mountains and become thoroughly familiar with the facts of each mountain. Your group needs to compare, evaluate and rank each mountain for possible UNGS building sites. Once your group has chosen the best location, you will prepare a presentation reflecting both your group's choice as well as the basic geological information of each mountain.  You will present this to the Board of Directors of the United Nations (your class). You will need to keep in mind that your many of the audience members are politicians, not scientists.  Please remember to list the three rejected locations along with at least TWO reasons why each location was rejected.

Your Quest(ion) is:

Which of these four mountain is the best location for the new UNGS building? One the left is the type of mountain and on the right is the specific mountain example.

Composite Volcanoe Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA, North America
Hot Spot Volvanoe Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, North America
Fold Mountain

Mt. Everest, Tibet-China & Nepal, Asia

Cinder Cone Mt. Paricutin, Mexico, North America

Your group needs to evaluate each mountain location based off of the following criteria:


  1. Elevation: the building's elevation must be at a minimum of 5,000 feet high.
  2. Mountain's geological history: is the mountain, thus the UNGS building as well, going to be getting higher over the next 100 years and if so, does that make a difference to the UNGS building?
  3. It must be a geologically safe location:
      • lack of dangerous earthquakes
      • if a volcano, it must be dormant or extinct
  4. Must be on or over a tectonic plate boundary (where two or more plates meet)
  5. The geological history stating that the mountain is not growing any taller than a couple of inches a year
  6. Location of a nearby airport or form of major transportation (dignitaries and scientists must be able to easily travel to and from site)
  7. Enough room for a large building (meadow or plateau on the slope is needed)
  8. Beautiful location year-round


By completing the WebQuest you should achieve the following goals:

  • improved cooperative group communication skills
  • working with your teammates to develop a cooperative project
  • develop an interest in volcanoes and fold mountains
  • develop an interest in how mountains can be dangerous
  • learn to evaluate and rank the mountains based off a list of criteria
  • learn how to use a comparison chart to help analyze and compare and contrast information
  • compare and contrast of types of mountain development
  • learn how to argue (persuade the UN) for your group's proposal
  • learn how to evaluate your individual strengths and weaknesses
  • learn how to evaluate your group's strengths and weaknesses
  • take digital pictures of your laboratory activity and insert it your PowerPoint
  • Insert images from Encarta and the USGS web site
  • correctly document and site all sources used in PowerPoint presentation
  • create a PowerPoint presentation that effectively conveys what you have learned as a individual and a group
  • present the PowerPoint presentation to the class without reading from it word-for-word



  1. Divide up the four Location Expert roles amongst your four members. Using "Rock-Paper-Scissors" is a fair way to decide who gets what job.



  2. Get copy of your chosen Four Mountains Web Quest page for your Location Expert Area (download from site or get from your teacher)
  3. Read the "Introduction", "Task" and "Process" part of the Four Mountains WebQuest before starting.
  4. Go to the "Resources & Expert's Page" for the links needed to complete your Location Expert sheet.
  5. Fill in the blanks, answer the questions in complete answers (where appropriate), and download required images to your floppy disk.
  6. Use the Encarta CD for the information and images necessary.
  7. Evaluate each mountain location on the comparison criteria chart.
  8. Rank the mountains 1 through 4 based on the criteria and your group's opinions
  9. Explain how your #1 mountain location choice matches the required criteria.
  10. Add information to your group's PowerPoint presentation about why each mountain is or is not a good choice.
  11. Insert your lab digital pictures into the PowerPoint presentation
  12. Insert images from the Encarta and USGS site.
  13. Complete your "Sources Cited" page for each image and segment of text you used in your PowerPoint presentation.
  14. Complete your PowerPoint rubric for your group and yourself.
  15. Present your proposal for a site to the "UNGS"- remember that your audience members are politicians, not scientists, thus you need to clearly explain the scientific reasons you accepted or rejected locations in "layman's terms".
  16. Be prepared to field questions from the audience pertaining to your choices, suggestions, and presentation.
  17. Complete the following rubrics:
  18. Turn in a copy of your PowerPoint on a disk, print out a copy of the presentation (9 slides per page format) and attach the following rubrics:
        1. A "Worksheet Evaluation Rubric" for each member of your team.
        2. Attach all four of your "Location Expert Worksheets" each team member filled out individually to each individual "Worksheet Evaluation Rubric" (your evaluation is stapled to your worksheet- both filled out by you)
        3. A "Self Evaluation Rubric" for each member in your team
        4. One "Group Evaluation Rubric" filled out by your entire team.
        5. One "PowerPoint Evaluation" Rubric filled out by the entire team.



Location Expert Resources Page