A Mystery To Me
Who doesn't enjoy reading and trying to solve mystery stories! In this WebQuest unit, students become both
mystery readers and writers. They utilize the Internet to understand
the elements of this classic genre; employ critical thinking skills
when reading various stories in both print and electronic formats;
form groups to solve mysteries; use Venn Diagrams and graphic
organizers to compare and contrast stories; supply the ending to a
Magic Mystery story starter; and write, edit, illustrate, print, and
bind a book of their own mystery stories. Students
can also create a board game based on a story or act
out part of that story and have the class try to solve the mystery.
Students read and comprehend books in the same genre; produce work
that follows the conventions of that genre; demonstrate knowledge
of story elements and a basic understanding of the rules of the English
language in written work; and analyze and subsequently revise work
to improve its clarity and effectiveness. They participate in group meetings; use electronic media to
gather information for research purposes; and use word processing
and drawing applications to write and illustrate original work.
computers with Internet access; "Carmen Sandiego: Jr. Detective"
and "Midnight Rescue" CD-ROMs; various mystery books
(such as the Nate The Great, Encyclopedia Brown, Hardy Boys, and Nancy
Drew series); software for word processing and painting (Microsoft
Word or AppleWorks, and Kidpix); and a printer.
It’s A Mystery To Me is designed for third grade
students working in a computer lab. It can be adapted for higher grades
and may be done in a classroom or library setting. Students use checklists
to evaluate their progress.
This WebQuest results in students
developing a sense of pride and accomplishment as they synthesize
and organize information found via Web-based research, and use their
writing and word processing skills to create their own mystery stories
and books while employing their art skills to illustrate those books.
For introductory purposes, use at least one online mystery as a read-aloud
and one as a guided reading activity, and plan a mystery as a whole
class activity (with the teacher sharing the pen) before students
begin writing. Conference with each group to assess the students'
Carolyn Hornik has been a New York City public school teacher for twenty five years (12 years as a classroom teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grades and 13 years as a technology coordinator.)
She teaches in-service courses for the New York City Board of Education After School Professional Development Program and on-line courses for new teachers through
Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10
Subject: English, Social Studies
Beginning Grade Level: 4
Ending Grade Level: 8