English 9 Regents: The Hobbit WebQuest (The Wizards)

Welcome members of Gandalf’s group!  You will need to collaborate on each of the following to complete your web quest.

Day 1:  Characterization

Each member must complete ONE of the following for Gandalf’s character:

–  A physical description of Gandalf (with hand-drawn, labeled picture based on textual information)

–  A two chunk paragraph with textual support describing the basic characteristics of wizards

–  A two chunk paragraph with textual support describing two positive character traits of Gandalf (use parenthetical documentation)

–  A two chunk paragraph with textual support describing two negative character traits of Gandalf (use parenthetical documentation)

Wizards: Gandalf  http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.asp?url=http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/g/gandalf.html

Thoughts on Wizards  http://www.pattern.com/wizards.html

Gandalf Biography   http://www.tuckborough.net/gandalf.html

Day 2:  Creature Features

All members of the group will do the following:

Using the links below, find out all you can about Orcs.  One person in your group will illustrate an orc based on your findings (not the same artist for the characterization!).   The remaining members will EACH write a two chunk paragraph describing the various characteristics and habits of Orcs.  Make sure to consult with one another so that you have different responses! 

Wikipedia: Orcs  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orcs

Encyclopedia of Arda: Orcs  http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.asp?url=http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/raceorcs.html

Day 3:  Specialties: Gandalf certainly knows how to make an impression with his fireworks displays!  His magical powers keep others on their toes as well; even those in the animal world.  Birds certainly seem to flock to Gandalf bringing him messages and other important information.

Each member will complete ONE of the following:

– Celebrations: Select (or create) a holiday that would have been celebrated by Wizards.  In at least three two-chunk body paragraphs (don’t forget your intro and your conclusion!), describe the significance of the holiday as well as activities that all good Wizards would engage in!

Celebrating the Seasons

*NOTE: this site lists ancient, earth-based holidays such as those that would probably have been celebrated in Middle Earth.  The information is for accuracy of the setting of the novel and is not intended to support or challenge any religious beliefs.  


– Fireworks:  Ah yes, Gandalf and his pyrotechnics!  It seems to be the thing that Bilbo remembered most about Gandalf’s previous visits to The Shire.  Obviously, Gandalf knows quite a bit about how to create fireworks as well as all safety precautions necessary (remember Merry and Pippin’s escapade in The Fellowship of the Rings?)  In at least three two-chunk body paragraphs (don’t forget your intro and your conclusion!), discuss the history of fireworks as well as how to be safe while using them.

The History of Fireworks  http://www.twilightbridge.com/hobbies/festivals/independence/historyfireworks.htm

Longwood Gardens: Fireworks History


      – Birds:  Gandalf certainly has a way with the animal kingdom, especially those of the winged variety.  In the novel , eagles, thrushes, and ravens talk to others, providing important information.  For each of these, in at least three two-chunk body paragraphs (don’t forget an intro and a concllusion!), describe the aid that is given to the company while on their journey.  Using the symbolism links below, research the symbolic meaning of each type of bird (eagle, thrush, raven) and add your findings to your “chunks”.

Bird Symbolism  http://members.aol.com/ivycleartoes/birds.html

More Bird Symbolism  http://www.brigids-haven.com/bos/info/birds.html

      – Magic:  Gandalf’s magical powers were able to help the company along their journey as well as in the battle at the end.  Fantasy novels that include such magical “people” have become very popular in today’s culture.  Harry Potter has not only taken over the book shelves and gotten kids to put down their video games and read, he has taken over the big screen and his product line has contributed much to the American economy.  Now THAT’S magic!  In at least three two-chunk body paragraphs, explain the impact of the Harry Potter phoenomenon on American culture.

Official J.K. Rowling Site: Harry Potter   http://www.jkrowling.com/en/thankyou.cfm

Scholastic.Com: Harry Potter  http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/home.asp

Wikipedia’s Harry Potter  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

Day 4:  Riddles and Songs

Each member of the group will do ALL of the following:

–  In Chapter 5, Gollum and Bilbo have a riddle contest deep in the underground tunnels of Misty Mountain.  Their riddles use clues and hints to try to describe a specific thing.

Read and, in a one-chunk paragraph, explain each of the following riddles from Bilbo and Gollum’s contest:

This thing all things devours:

                        Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

                        Gnaws iron, bites steel;

                        Grinds hard stones to meal;

                        Slays kings, ruins towns,

                        And beats high mountain down.


                        An eye in a blue face

                        Saw an eye in a green face.

                        “That eye is like to this eye”

                        Said the first eye,

                        “But in a low place

                         Not in a high place.”

     –  Choose a common object and brainstorm as many qualities as you can about it.  Then, using rhyme, devise a four-lined to eight-lined riddle using the traits of the object that would stump even Bilbo! 

Looking at Riddle Formation  http://www.geocities.com/d_champions_hall/ezine/article2.htm

– Well, we all know that Gandalf isn’t much for singing himself, but he certainly seems to enjoy a good tune!  Re-read the songs of the dwarves while at Beorn’s home and of the men at Laketown from The Hobbit.  For each, summarize the message/central idea of the song and relate the idea to the singers.  Does each song support what we as readers know about the dwarves’ and the men’s characters?  What does each demonstrate about them?

– Define each of the following poetic terms and use them to analyze both the dwarves’ song at Beorn’s home and the song of the men at Laketown: assonance, repetition, imagery, onomatopoeia, tone, structure, and rhyme scheme.  Demonstrate how these elements in his songs add to the characterization of the singers.

Glossary of Poetic Terms  http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/display_rpo/poetterm.cfm

                page 126-127     the dwarves’ song at Beorn’s

                              page 197          the men of Laketown’s song

Day 5:  Symbolic Objects/Tools

– Each member of your group must decide on a different specific object or tool that would best represent or support Gandalf’s character.  For example, in The Odyssey, Athena’s wisdom could be represented by an owl.  While the members will draw each of the symbols on one collective poster, each individual will write a two-chunk paragraph explaining why the symbol is appropriate for Gandalf.

Explore a World of Symbols  http://www.symbols.com/

Dictionary of Symbolism  http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/

– Each member will select a different season of the year and write a two chunk paragraph that demonstrates how his/her particular season mirrors the journey of Bilbo Baggins.

Day 6:  Travel and Tourism: The Misty Mountains

Each member will do ONE of the following:

Although it’s not known where Gandalf hangs his hat and calls home, it’s apparent that he displays a certain fondness for The Misty Mountains.  Yeah, it’s cold and snowy, but your group is compiling promotional information in order to attract visitors to come and spend their gold in The Misty Mountains.

  –  Create an overall guidebook to The Misty Mountains that includes:

* a detailed map of the region

* enticing reasons why The Misty Mountains is the place for

anyone’s next vacation

* climate information

* transportation available

* quotations from previous visitors praising The Misty Mountains

* coupons to local attractions, restaurants, and


–  Create a hotel brochure that includes:

* accommodations listings

* amenities

* prices

* promotional package deals

* what’s nearby to do/go to eat

– Create a restaurant menu that includes:

* appetizers, entrees, salads, soups, desserts with descriptions

* lunch/dinner specials

* background information about this family-run business

– Create a museum or recreation brochure that includes at least three “must see” attractions in The Misty Mountains.

                  * what makes each attraction so special?

* prices

* special discounts

– Create a local newspaper’s sports section that describes various sporting events available in The Misty Mountains.  Write at least one article reviewing a particular event that includes players’ names and some kinds of statistics.

Day 7:  Gandalf’s Journal

Each member will do ALL of the following:

Each member of your group will create a series of journal responses for Gandalf.  Do not merely write your responses on lined paper or type them on a word processor… neither of these would exist in Middle Earth.  Use your imagination and create a journal that would not look out of place in Gandalf’s travel bag. 


1. Each response must be at least 150 words in length. 

2. Each response must contain at least three appropriately used vocabulary words from the unit.

3. Each response must create an appropriate “voice” for Gandalf.

Respond to each of the following:

     –  What might Gandalf have written in his journal the night before he arrived in the Shire to invite Bilbo to go on an adventure?

     –  Gandalf’s reaction to his initial visit with Bilbo

     –  Gandalf’s reaction to Bilbo’s decision to join the company

     –  Gandalf’s feelings before he leaves Bilbo in charge of the company

     –  Gandalf’s decision to return to the company


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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Regents

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