Students work together to solve mysteries

January 31, 2019
students solving mysteries

It often takes more than one detective to solve a great mystery. Sherlock Holmes employed the help of Watson. Shaggy paired up with Scooby Doo. And students at Afton-Lakeland Elementary School looked to buddies at Stillwater Area High School when they needed a bit of help figuring out “whodunit.”

Third graders in Christi Wallace’s class paired up with tenth graders in Rachel Steil’s English class to collaborate on a mystery unit. The elementary students and their high school buddies were both studying elements of a great mystery as part of their language arts classes. The teachers designed a handful of experiences for their students to work together to practice and apply some of what they learned about plot structure, characterization, deduction, clues and more.

Students exchanged hand-written letters, took part in video chats and visited in person; all the while learning about and writing their own mysteries. They played interactive mystery games, like Clue, and searched for clues hidden in pictures. They even practiced their skills of deduction and careful reading to help solve puzzles and escape room-type games.

“Collaborating with our third grade buddies provided my students with opportunities to build relationships, mentor, and teach younger students about the same reading, writing, and analysis skills we practiced in our classrooms,” said Steil. “It was so fun to see kids working together to problem solve, write, and engage in activities to foster their understanding of mystery literature.”

This project was funded through a grant from the Partnership Plan.