Friday, October 19, 2012

Our first Mystery Skype!

This past Wednesday, one class of 5th graders came into the library to find they had a puzzle to solve. With just 10 minutes of planning and prep time, we called a classroom in an unknown location via Skype, with the intention of figuring out where they were. At the same time, that classroom would be trying to locate us!  The students stepped right up to the challenge. We established roles and jobs to make sure we were successful.  Here's what we came up with:
The big picture!
Google Earth and Google Maps provided instant updates
  • Researchers: Students ready to analyze clues on Google maps and Google Earth, along with students manning print atlases and looking at globes and printed out maps.
Note taking in action
  • Note-takers and Clue Trackers: Students took notes on each question and answer asked, with special focus on the clues.
  • Runners: Students literally ran between groups, synthesizing answers to questions, passing these on to the Researchers and sharing ideas with the Questioners. 
  • Questioners: Students presented strategic questions to the mystery classroom to try to narrow down their location and answered the questions that were posed to us.  We took turns - they asked us a question, then we asked one back!
  • Photographer: Documenting the event with photos and perspective. (Evidence here! Pics by Eliza and Olivia)
  • Videographer: Documenting the well-oiled machine we became! Complete with insider interviews :)
  • Greeter: Introduced our class at the beginning of the Skype call (without revealing our location!) and answered follow up questions after each class located the other!

A view into our mystery classroom - see any clues?
Notes were taken via Google Docs and shared with me

Students poured over atlases & maps!
The final question to determine our city!

We had such a great time! I basically stood back and watched the students work together as a TEAM. Everyone had a job, and when we finally figured out their state (Missouri!) and town, there were cheers and fist pumps. The 5th graders totally rocked this! I was so impressed with the questions each group came up with to narrow down the mystery locations. It was definitely an experience I'm hoping to replicate across the upper grade levels! Thanks to Mrs. Venosdale (@ktvee) for guiding us through our first Mystery Skype! It was wonderful to meet and connect with such an enthusiastic group of 5th graders!


Krissy Venosdale said...

Wow -- I love hearing your perspective on the Mystery Skype! I especially enjoyed the way you guys took notes in Google Docs during the call. It was great to meet you and I am so happy to hear that you all enjoyed the experience! :)
Thank you!

Ms. Drew said...

That is AWESOME! What a great idea and way to use a lot of research skills at one time.