The Alchemist - A Personal Journey



Week One - pages 1-35

Welcome to The Alchemist WebQuest.  Here, you will complete research assignments and reflective assignments in preparation for your final project.  Follow all of the instructions carefully and save your work in your H: folder.  To keep track of your progress, open Attachment I, found at the bottom of this page, and save it to your H: folder.  This sheet will help you keep track of completed assignment and guide you as you create your final project.  During this WebQuest, you will be gathering the information, pictures, video and journal reflections needed to complete your MovieMaker project.  Some of your research will inform your understanding of the locations and cultures you will read about in the novel.  Let’s begin with Santiago’s homeland, Andalusia.  

Andalusia is the southern most region of Spain.  It is east of Portugal, and north of the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco.  It also shares a border with the British territory, Gibraltar.  

Andalusia has had a tumultuous past.  During the 5th century, Vandals and Visigoths moved through the region before settling in northern Africa.  711-718 AD marked the end of Visigoth rule and the beginning of the Moorish period.  During this time, the Moors established universities in Andalusia.  Moorish scholars contributed to the scholarly progress of astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and mathematics.

In 1492, most of Andalusia came under the Spanish, Catholic control of the monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.  Though Ferdinand and Isabella had great influence, Andalusia managed to retain much of its Moorish personality.  Even today, Andalusia retains the largest Muslim population in Spain.

Task One

Using Google Images, please find a map of Spain and a map of Andalusia. Save these images in your file.

Task Two

Copy and paste the following link into your web browser:

www.paradoxplace.com/Photo Pages/Spain/Andalucia/Andalucia.htm

1. Look at the pictures of the Andalusian landscape and architecture.
2. Click on SW Andalusia and view the pictures.

3. Using Google Images, capture pictures of Andalusia for your file.

Task Three
Santiago, our protagonist, begins his adult life as a shepherd.  The rocky hills and valleys of Andalusia are well suited for the care and feeding of livestock.  Today, you will learn about the practical aspects of shepherding as well as the pervasive symbolism of sheep and shepherds.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and open the attachment, Shepherding.  Read the document and respond to the questions in a Word document.  Save your responses in your file.

Week Two - pages 35-67

Task Four
In this second section of the novel, Santiago must make a difficult journey to a foreign land.  Santiago will travel, by boat, from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, Morocco.  The Strait of Gibraltar is a relatively narrow body of water, yet it separates two continents.  Santiago will face new sights, smells, responsibilities and challenges.  After receiving wise advice and tools from the king, Santiago bravely faces the unknown.

Scroll to the bottom of this page and open the attachment, Strait of Gibraltar.  Answer the questions on the document and save your work in your file. 

Task Five

Our experience reading The Alchemist, will greatly improve if we interact with the novel in a personal way.  That is why some of your tasks will involve self-reflection.  These self-reflective tasks will prepare your thinking for the MovieMaker project you will create at the end of the unit.  In a Word document, please reflect on the most influential people in your life.  Name three people who have influenced you, for better or worse.  Describe their influence on you.  What have you learned from them?  Is their influence ongoing?  In what way(s) are you different for having known them?  Take your time and answer thoughtfully.  Save your writing in your file.

Task Six
Today you will read about some of the ongoing border issues between Tarifa and Tangier. Click on the following link and read the article.  When you have finished reading, answer the following questions in a Word document and save them in your file.



What are some of the effects of having countries/continents so close to one another?  In what ways are you a combination of cultures?

Week Three - pages 67-93

Task Seven
Today, you will research Alchemy, the medieval forerunner of chemistry.  Click the link below to access the site.  Type your answers in a Word document and save them in your file.


1.    Click on Newton’s Alchemy.
2.    Click on interview with Bill Newman and read the interview.
3.    Check out some of the interactive boxes on the right of the page.
4.   Define Alchemy.  Give a literal and a figurative definition.
5.   What is the modern day version of alchemy?  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  There is not one correct, literal answer.
6.  Why does Mr. Coehlo give the honor of the book’s title to the alchemist, a supporting character?

Task Eight

Click the following link.  Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click, Take the Test!  When you have finished, read all about yourself.  Do you agree with your results?  What do you find surprising?  Copy and paste your results, and your answers to these questions into a Word document and save them in your file.


Task Nine

Today you will listen to Paolo Coehlo talk about his novel, The Alchemist.  Listen carefully, as Mr. Coehlo will talk about his book as a metaphor for life.  You will finish today’s assignment with a better understanding of The Alchemist as an allegory.  To begin, click the following link.



Scroll down to Paolo Coehlo - The Alchemist and click to listen.  When you have finished, open your Task Four, Shepherding assignment and add to your thinking by responding to these questions:

•    In your own life, are you merely seeking provision for your physical needs, or are you looking for something more?  
•    Are you content to follow a charismatic leader, or do you occasionally like to lead?   
•    What is the difference between happiness and contentment?  
•    Which is better?

Week Four - pages 94-134

Task Ten

Today we will investigate another setting in the novel, the Sahara desert.  You will read about, the Tuareg people, a specific clan of Bedouin people who live in the Sahara.  Bedouin is a term used to describe the historically nomadic people groups living in the deserts of North Africa and portions of the Middle East.  Click the following link.  Then, explore the buttons The People, -traditions, -recipes, -folklore and -music.  Click on "map it" to see where the Tuareg people live.  In a Word document, take notes on the Sahara and the Tuareg People.  Save these notes in your file.  You may also want to capture and save pictures to use in your final project.



Task Eleven

Today, we will dig deeper into elements of Bedouin culture.  As you research, remember that “Bedouin” is a general term used to describe many groups of people.  Each Bedouin tribe, or clan, maintains unique qualities that set it apart from other Bedouin groups. Copy and paste the following link to your web browser.  Read about the Bedouin people and how they survive the harsh desert conditions.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to find links about water, food, shelter, clothing, transportation and navigation.  Take notes on details pertinent to your reading.  When deciding what notes to take, ask yourself:

1.  In the desert, what is new and different for Santiago?
2.  Which elements of life (water, food, shelter, clothing, transportation and navigation) most significantly impact Santiago?

Save these notes in your file.  Remember to capture some pictures to use in your final project.



Week Five - pages 139-154

Task Twelve

It’s Egypt Day!  Santiago is getting very close to the end of his journey.  He has traveled a great distance to find his Personal Legend.  His next discovery will take place at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids.  Today will we gain a better understanding of what Santiago saw at the end of his journey.  Copy and paste the following link to explore Egyptian geography, pyramids, and life.  Make sure to investigate the story, explore and challenge links.  You will want to capture notes and pictures for your file.



Task Thirteen

In a Word document, respond to the following prompt.  What are the three goals you are most inspired to accomplish?  What are the three things for which your heart most longs? Save your responses in your project file.

Important planning note:

You will need pictures of yourself for your final project.  Begin bringing/emailing pictures to school to save in your file.  You might also need pictures of other important people in your life.  Begin taking pictures of the important people, places and things in your life.

Week Six - pages 155-167

Task Fourteen

Today is our last reflective assignment before we begin our MovieMaker project.  As Santiago reaches his goal and finds his treasure you will have several options for how to reflect on the idea of treasure.  In the JJohnson folder you will find four different documents asking questions about treasure:

•    A Quote from The Bible
•    A Jewish Story
•    A Quote from The Koran
•    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please choose one of these documents, read the quote about treasure and answer the questions.  Don’t forget to save your work in your file.

Task Fifteen

This is it!  Today you begin your final project.  You have finished your reading.  You have participated in class discussions.  You have collected the notes, pictures, and journaling you will need to create a movie project.  Remember, the purpose of this project is to join your personal experience with Santiago’s experience.  You will need to highlight the similarities between you and Santiago.  Pull out the most significant ideas, symbols, settings, characters or lesson from the book and show how you relate to them.  Go back to the Task section of this WebQuest in order to see the requirements for the final project.  There is a sample project located in the JJohnson folder.   Check with your teacher for a final due date.


  • File
    Description: Time and Task Plan

  • File
    Description: Strait of Gibraltar

  • File
    Description: Shepherding

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