This month we tried Mystery Classroom. Our partner class was so excited to also participate, they were joined by their principal to watch the process. Watch the video to find out the state we Skyped!
There were several things that I learned from this project. Assign certain groups to become experts on different sections (mountains and oceans, state flags, longitude and latitude, etc.). Use a dry erase board for students to record their questions in advance. The other class thought of this idea and it really saved time, especially when the child’s voice was not loud.
This project is student centered and I preferred some questions to be corrected during our Skype break. And although they were confused about their answer about our longitude (it is 95 degrees west), I noticed that they were actually trying to figure out how to find the longitude using their fingers along the marked guidelines instead of guessing with no strategy. During the second Mystery Skype class call they had it correct.
Decide in advance where you want your students to sit and how you would like them to ask their questions. We tried placing 2 students in 2 seats, but it took too long and was faster if students knew to come up in groups.
Most importantly, print a map of the United States for students to write on. It really helps students eliminate states.
…the state got cut off at the end….it was Indiana!