Research Mysteries (grades 4-8)
Author: Loreen Azevedo, Sonoma Country Day School, California
Subject: Research/Library skills
Objective: Solve the mystery using library references
Materials and Preparation: The Mysteries of Research by Sharron Cohen (or teacher written mysteries). Reference resources such as dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, etc. or Internet access.
Student Grouping: Teams of 2-3 students.
The Play: Students read the mystery and "statements" from four suspects. They then check the facts in a suspect's statement to determine who committed the crime and why. Suspects are guilty if a student catches them in a lie (that can be proved by research resources).
Scoring: Solutions in the book.
Further Play: Students could get to the stage whereby they write their own mysteries.
Comments or Variations: My students LOVE this activity and beg for it for PAT. I've found it works best with 6th or 7th graders and it's a great way to have them see the value of and learn to use printed resources. (I don't always allow them to use the Internet.)