Monday, September 30, 2013

Mystery Skype- Connecting with Classrooms Around the World

This week I arranged a Mystery Skype for one of my 3rd grade classes.  A Mystery Skype is a game played over Skype where the classes take turns asking one another yes or no questions to try to guess the state, province, or city that the other class lives in.  We played with Mrs. Abernathy's 5th grade class in Pennsylania.

Our class had teams that had designated jobs during the Skype.  These jobs included:

Greeters- introduce the class and tell something about the class without giving away location
• Inquirers – ask the questions
• Question Keepers – keep track of the questions and answers
• Question Answerers - responsible for giving accurate answers about our state (South Carolina)
• Mappers- keep track of clues on a map and help the Inquirers ask the right questions (paper map, Google map, wall map, etc.)
and everyone in the class had a paper map to keep track of the possible location and to rule out states that the class was not located.
Prior to the Skype, the class brainstormed some good questions to ask that would help them to quickly narrow down the opposing team's location.  Some of their questions included:
1. Does your state border the Pacific Ocean?
2.  Does your state border the Atlantic Ocean?
3. Is your state big?
4. Is your state small?
5. Is it very hot in summer and cold in winter/Do you have seasons?
6. Is it north/south/east/west of __________?
7. Does your state border Canada?
8. Does your state border Mexico?
9. Does your state border __________?
10. Is your state in the Eastern part of the United States?
11.  Is your state in the Western part of the United States?
12.  Does your state name start with the letter _____?
After about 10 minutes of back and forth asking great questions, Mrs. Abernathy's students guessed that we were from South Carolina (they got a big clue when a student said "y'all").  But in the very next turn, my students guessed that they were from Pennsylvania!  So both teams guessed each other's location in the same number of questions.  Next, Mrs. Abernathy's class shared their class pets with us- some lizards, a few chinchillas (including an adorable baby), and a ferret.  That was a true highlight as we are not allowed classroom pets in our school district.
So, what did our students learn from the Mystery Skype?  Obviously they learned about geography, but more importantly they learned problem solving, communication skills, about the culture of another classroom in another part of the world and they learned that learning is fun!

Do you want to try a Mystery Skype?  Connect with other educators on the Skype in the Classroom- Mystery Skype page or search for the hashtag #mysteryskype on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I have done several Mystery Skypes as well...Similar to yours however we had the students decide what resources they thought they would need to do their job in their group (Communication group- on camera, Question writers, Question Keepers, Runners, and Clue Keepers (who kept track of which states were NOT choices and already ruled out). The students decided they would need a google doc projected so that each question/answer was recorded and visible, Atlas, Zip Code map (no clue why but they wanted and found this), computers for several groups to research using Google Maps, etc. Not only did their communication skills improve but their use of resources improved..... I loved hearing what they would do next time that was different. Love this for all sorts of learning


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