Introduction | Task | Process | Resources | Evaluation | Conclusion


Since ancient times, societies have created and appreciated stories of heroes and acts of heroism. Heroes of the past were often larger than life characters, warriors possessing great physical strength, courage, and loyalty. These heroes embodied the characteristics necessary to survive and flourish within these ancient societies. Today, the concept of a hero has been expanded to include many real people of diverse backgrounds: scientists, soldiers, athletes, and often ordinary people performing extraordinary acts. Whether real or imaginary, historical or modern, a society's heroes reveal the characteristics that are valued by its people.

The Task

You will research people deemed heroes by modern society, and you will write a unified essay about what it means to be a modern day hero. In your essay, use ideas from two resources to establish a thesis about what it means to be modern day hero. Be certain to use evidence from two different resources to develop your claims about what it means to be a modern day hero.

The Process

The following instructions will make the completion of your task easy!

  1. Begin exploring the resources listed below. Skim through each, keeping in mind that you will need to establish a unified idea about two pieces.
  2. Select and print the two resources you would like to examine more deeply.  Always have a third, back up source in case you change your mind.
  3. Read your selected passages. Consider possible claims about heroes you can make based on the evidence provided.  In order to have a fair amount to prove, your thesis should have two facets that can be developed and supported with information from both selected passages.  Consider the following suggested points:
    • What did the person do that was heroic?
    • What characteristics does the person display?
    • What do other people say about the person?
    • Who benefitted from the person's actions? How?
    • What awards has the person won?
    • What does the person risk?
    • What does the person gain?
  4. Take notes on each passage, using the chart to stay focused on your thesis statement.
  5. Write your essay in which you present your findings and support your claims. 


The following links will bring you to sites you will use to gather your information (Each link will open in a new window):

Hugh Thompson: The Forgotten Hero of My Lai

Jonas Salk Remembered As Gracious Hero of Century

Thor Heyerdahl: Norway's National and International Hero

Miss McCarty's Gift Keeps on Giving a Year Later - Original Oseola McCarty Article

Jan Karski: A Message Still Fresh

Thomas Andrews: The Titanic Designer

Cesar Chavez: Labor Leader, Tireless Advocate for Farm Workers' Rights

Lois Gibbs: Love Canal, NY Resident and Environmental Activist


This WebQuest essay will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Uses ideas from two resources to formulate an insightful, complex thesis about what it means to be a hero
  • Uses specific and relevant evidence from both passages to develop your thesis
  • Ideas are organized in a logical and coherent manner
  • Uses language that communicates ideas effectively
  • Follows the conventions of standard written English


When you complete this WebQuest, you will be able to describe some modern concepts of a hero. Do you feel that society values "the right" people? Who are the heroes in your life? You may want to explore other stories of heroism to better understand society's values and clarify your own.

Last Modified by L. Lopez

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