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Monday, March 12, 2012

History Mystery Research Challenge FREEBIE

It's about time, teachers. . .for standardized testing to be over.  That means it's about time to have some fun with your students (finally).   I have a fun, fun, fun project to help propel you through the last quarter of the school year.  It's called History Mystery Research Challenge.

I developed this as an enrichment project that I thought would be good for 3rd - 5th grades; maybe for 2nd grade with some help from the teacher.  But, much to my surprise and delight, the kindergarten and 1st grade classes begged to join in, too.   Even more incredibly, the school secretary, the computer lab assistant, the art teacher, and the Title I teacher joined in on the fun.  

Here's how it works:
  • Copy the clues and cut them apart.
  • Distribute 1 clue each day to each participant.  [The clues are numbered and there is 1 clue for each day of the week.]
  • Award points for correct answers as follows:
    • day 1 = 5 points
    • day 2 = 4 points
    • day 3 = 3 points
    • day 4 = 2 points
    • day 5 = 1 point
  • Keep track of the scores each day, but do NOT let anyone know whether they have solved the mystery or not.  
  • Post the scores AFTER the 5th clue is scored.  [Because I love competition, I made an enormous graph on one hallway wall where I recorded each classroom's score each week.  Great for graph reading skills!]
  • Announce the correct answer the next day (usually Monday) before giving the 1st clue for the next week's contest.
Following is one week's set of clues:

As the school's enrichment specialist, I had access to all the classes in my building.  I made the rule that I would accept only 1 answer from each classroom.  [Thus, I reduced by workload exponentially and fostered cooperative learning.]  It is essential that you not reveal the correct answer until after the 5th clue has been shared and appropriate time is given to submit answers for the 5th clue.  This keeps everyone engaged and prevents that unfortunate inevitability in which someone tells another competitor the right answer.  

If you are not an enrichment specialist or other professional with access to every classroom, you can just as easily conduct this within your classroom, challenging each student to undertake  the research on their own.  Or, in the interest of reducing your work and promoting cooperative learning, create teams among your students.  Another suggestion is to challenge other classes at your grade level to participate.    

Classroom teachers eagerly reported that students who had never shown any interest in library skills, literally ran to the library as soon as they received the day's clue.  How rewarding is that????

This product has enough clues to last 12 weeks.  If you like it, you can find it in my TpT Store or in my TeachersNotebook Shop.  

Now go forth and have fun!



  1. I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the affirmation. Come back soon.