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This Project has three phases: Library Research on Censorship both past and present and Construct an Informative Essay


Fahrenheit 451 – WebQuest Project

English 9


A WebQuest project uses the resources of the Internet to explore and answer questions pertaining to a particular topic.  We are going to explore the issue of censorship – past and present.



You have been appointed to Jefferson's Freedom of Speech Commission. The Commission is studying issues related to Censorship and has asked you to investigate some of the history of censorship and to use the information to help the Commission make judgments about contemporary censorship issues. You will be using the WebQuest to find information about some of the instances of censorship the Commission is interested in.





The WebQuest will have two parts:


To complete Part I, you must explore Web sites on censorship in the past and the present. You will be given a selection of web sites related to these issues from which to choose.


Part II is an essay on a contemporary censorship issue. The essay must use information from the Web sites, so you will need to take notes as you explore the sites.  (Remember to record reference/citation information.)


Part I:

Explore these websites for information on the kinds of historical censorship Ray Bradbury discusses in Fahrenheit 451: For this part of the WebQuest, I will be collecting answers to the questions that accompany each web site.


Step I: The burning of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley:

        Why were they burned at the stake?

        Why was Latimer confident that they were doing the right thing?

        Why would it be important to remind people of this history?


Site 1:


Site 2:

Step II: Nazi Book Burning:

        What is significant about the date May 10, 1933?

        In what way might the pictorial images have inspired Bradbury to write Fahrenheit 451?

        What effect do you think the burning of books had on the authors whose works were burned.


Site 1:

Site 2:


Step III: McCarthyism and Blacklisting in Hollywood:

        Who is Joe McCarthy?

        What is “McCarthyism”?

        What does HUAC stand for?

        What is the significance of Hollywood and Blacklisting?

        How might it have inspired Bradbury to write Fahrenheit 451?



Part II

As you explore the websites listed below, think about the censorship issues that are in the news today.  The questions listed below are designed to guide your thinking for the essay you will write in Part III.  I will not be collecting answers to them, but the essay should demonstrate that you have thought about them.


Questions to consider as you prepare your paper:

        Who is in favor of these limitations on freedom of speech?

        Why are they in favor of them?

        Who is opposed?

        Why are they opposed?

        Which side do you agree with? Why?


Labeling of Music to keep our youth safe from harmful lyrics!


Warning Labels on CD’s


The V-Chip and Movie Ratings: Controlling access to violence and sexuality in the Media


What is Art?  Should indecent Art be censored?
Decency and the Public Funding of the Arts

Book Banning:  Remove books from the shelves of libraries to protect our society!


American Library Association (ALA)

First Amendment Rights



Part III

The Essay Question:

You have been appointed to Jefferson’s Freedom of Speech Commission. The Commission has been studying issues related to censorship, and has asked you to write a report explaining one of these controversies and making a recommendation for action.


Choose one of the censorship controversies you explored in Part II and write a 5-6 paragraph essay discussing the questions that appeared at the opening of Part II.  If you wish to write about a form of censorship not listed in Part II, see me for approval before doing the research!


v    This expository essay reports on the type of censorship and the relevance to today’s society. 

v    Your essay does not need to answer every question, but you must state your opinion about the controversy and use information you have gathered from the WebQuest to support your opinion. 

v    You may consider how author Ray Bradbury would feel about this type of censorship using quotes from the author or quotes from the novel, Fahrenheit 451.




Your WebQuest Project will be evaluated in two ways:

        First, I will evaluate your answers to the Questions asked about the individual web sites in Part I. I will be looking to see that you have explored the web sites effectively, and that you have thought about the information you found there.


        Second, I will be grading the essay you wrote for Part III. I will look to see how effectively you have used information and ideas from this WebQuest to support your opinions on one of the censorship topics explored in Part II. Good essays will be 5-6 paragraphs long and will contain specific information on censorship in the past and in America today.  Of course, the essay should be well organized, interesting, and written in proper Standard English adhering to MLA format.


        Thirdly, I will stay after school on Wednesdays for anyone who needs to use a computer or has questions about this project. 

If you need assistance make an appointment to stay after school.  ~Mrs. V.~