Lesson Plan

The following is a lesson plan to use the What's in a Name? webquest. This page was designed to provide teachers with an overview of the purpose, objectives, and learner characteristics associated with this WebQuest. Answers located in the Webquest Navigation list


Many students do not know the origins behind their own last name, let alone how last names originated. Throughout this webquest students will travel back to the formation of surnames, research their own family's surnames, and reflect on current trends regarding surnames.


There are many famous quotes that reflect on knowing one's history or the past. When introducing this activity, I will first write on my white board "To know the future, you must know your past." Students then begin to realize the importance of knowing the origins of surnames.

Learner Discription:

the webquest is designed as an activity to accompany studies of Medieval Europe. This webquest is suttible for grades 7-9.


Students should have basic Internet navigation skills. Students must research their family's surnames. Students should know thier mother's maiden name, and both grandmother's maiden names before begining this assignment.

Instructional Objectives:

After completing this assignment students should be able to:

  • describe the reasoning behind the formation of surnames
  • identify the different meanings behind surnames
  • differentiate between locational surnames
  • identify the origins of their personal surname and family's surnames.
  • analyze current surname trends


Eighth Grade World History Alabama Course Of Study Objective 16:

Describe major cultural changes in Western Europe in the High Middle Ages (1000-1350).

Subject Matter Discription:


This WebQuest follows the model developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March. It contains the following sections for learners:

* Introduction: This section provides an overview to help learners to become familiar with the topic.

* Task: The task to be completed is described in this section. Learners will evaluate the origins of surnames. This will provide a basis for students to understand surnames in researching their own. Students will record their answers for task 1 and 2 on a Google doc.

* Process: The list of steps to follow are provided. Learners will complete task one: answering questions about the history of surnames and meanings behind them. Task two allows learners to research their familys' surnames. Task three requires students to reflect on all they have learned about surname origins and take a side on current trends with surnames. Students will review information on surnames through various websites and readings on the webquest.

* Evaluation: A rubric is provided to allow learners to self-score their projects. This same rubric will be used by the instructor to assign a grade for work completed in this WebQuest.

* Conclusion: This section is used to prompt the learner to think about what they have learned during this Webquest.


Students will be assessed through the answering of questions on a Google doc. Students will be evaluated by the rubric on the evaluation page.