Mystery Skype

Today the kids in 3B tried something new – Mystery Skype.

What is Mystery Skype? It’s a game in which students from two different schools (whose locations are unknown, except by the teachers) ask each other questions via Skype, and then use geography skills to try to determine each other’s location. The questions start broad (“Are you in the northern hemisphere?”) then gradually get more narrow (“Do the Rocky Mountains run through your state?”) as teams try to be the first to guess their mystery school’s location.

We are just finishing our first social studies unit of the year, “Home and Away.” In this unit we explored geographers’ tools, what makes locations unique, and how resources affect where people live. This was a perfect culminating activity for this unit, and it was fun to try something new. We expected it to be a bit messy, but we also anticipated a lot of fun and learning.

We played with Luke Fitzpatrick’s (@Grade3SVC) grade 3 students in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Students worked collaboratively in different teams to help us determine the mystery class’s location using both digital tools (see our Mystery Skype Symbaloo) and good old fashioned maps and atlases. We had two speakers who asked and answered questions; 7 map / atlas checkers who helped narrow down the location; 4 China experts who helped answer the questions about where we are located; 2 recorders who kept track of the questions we asked and the answers we received; and 3 documentarians, who used iPads to take pictures and video of the process. I plan to rotate the roles each time we do a Mystery Skype (which I hope will be often, as it was a lot of fun!)

A special thank you is in order for the support we received during this activity from our teacher librarian, Mrs. Livingston, and our Learning Innovation Coach, Ms. Beabout.

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Learn more about Mystery Skype here.

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