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Web Quest Lesson Plan


In this unit, students have explored the concept of learning from mistakes. In this lesson, they will read an online article about some of history’s greatest mistakes.

Lesson Description

Students will read the online article “The Greatest Mistakes of All Time” ( by Martha Brockenbrough and then answer questions based on what they’ve read.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will read about mistakes and how some mistakes can result in something positive.
  2. Students will compare and contrast mistakes made by famous inventors to mistakes they’ve made in their own lives.
  3. Students will answer questions based on what they’ve read.

Questions and Possible Answers

1. What was the mistake that resulted in Cinderella losing a glass slipper?
Possible answer: In the original Cinderella she was wearing a fur shoe. But when a French man translated the story in 1697, he confused two French words that sounded the same, “vair” which meant “fur,” and “verre” which meant “glass.” Cinderella has worn glass slippers ever since.

2. What famous beverage was originally intended to be a medicine?
Possible answer: Coca-Cola was originally invented as a medicine.

3. How were chocolate chip cookies invented?
Possible Answer: Chocolate chip cookies came from an innkeeper who was making butter cookies and cut up a chocolate bar into bits and mixed it with the dough. She thought the chocolate would melt and she would have chocolate cookies, but it turned out that she got butter cookies with gooey chocolate chips in them.

4. What was the adhesive on Post-It Notes originally supposed to be used for?
Possible answer: The adhesive on Post-It Notes was originally supposed to be used to make stronger tape.

5. How did a church choir play a role in the invention of Post-It Notes?
Possible answer: A 3M researcher was a member of a church choir, and kept getting frustrated because his bookmarks kept falling out of his hymnal. He needed pieces of paper that would stick to the pages, but not be too sticky and ruin them. He found out about the not-quite-sticky adhesive that his co-worker had made, and they turned it into Post-Its.

6. Where did the name “rubber” come from?
Possible answer: Rubber was a substance that was originally used to “rub out” pencil markings.

7. What was the original use for the substance that became Silly Putty?
Possible answer: Silly Putty was originally supposed to be a substitute for rubber during World War II.

8. How was the medicine penicillin discovered?
Possible answer: Penicillin was discovered when scientist Alexander Fleming noticed that mold spores had ruined a batch of bacteria that he left beside an open window. He studied the spores that had ruined his experiment and realized that they were dissolving the harmful bacteria in the sample. The mold spores became penicillin.

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