No Longer A Mystery

On Friday, we had a quasi-Mystery Skype Call with Melvina Kurashige’s Grade 6 class in Hawaii. A while ago, Melvina saw my tweet about our Math Art Projects, and it reminded her of a teapot project that she did with her class. She thought that she could send us a teapot, and the students could construct a box to send it off to another class. Our next math unit has students exploring volume, so this aligns well with that.

While we were both intrigued by the typical Mystery Skype Calls, we didn’t think that we had the time to have the classes go back and forth with the “yes/no questions.” My students are also just starting to explore mapping concepts as part of our latest Social Studies Unit, so I wondered if I had taught enough for them to be successful. This is when we thought of our own Mystery Skype idea: have each class give five clues about where they live to the other class. Students can then use the clues and their resources (i.e., the Internet, books, and atlases) to guess the location of the other class.

My class decided to create a Google Form with all of our clues, post the form online, and invite others to vote for their favourite clues. The top five clues are the ones that we shared during the Skype call. Students loved this option, and they were all very excited to Skype on Friday afternoon.

The Mystery Skype call though took a bit of a twist when both classes worked outside of the clues to guess the locations.

My students used the teacher’s name on Skype to track down her Twitter account, and from there, her location. The students in Hawaii used the Canadian flag that was hanging in the background as a good clue that we were in Canada. Go figure! 🙂 I was intrigued by the creative problem solving, but this also concerned me, as I really wanted the students to use the clues to guess the location (as we are working on inferring in class, and this would be great for inferring), and this never truly happened.

Have you experienced something similar before? How would you keep a Mystery Skype a “mystery?” I would love to hear your ideas!


6 thoughts on “No Longer A Mystery

  1. I love this! It is tricky to keep locations totally a secret, especially if they find my Twitter account. My Skype message says ‘Room 113 loves to Skype!’

    My 3rd graders have had 3 Mystery Skype calls this year and we have asked the questions based on Geography because of our age. We would ask, for example, “Do you border the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean?” “Are you East or West of the Mississippi River?”

    I know that even if your actual call didn’t go as planned, it still was an #EduWin in my book!

    • Thank you so much for the comment, Barb! I like how you use locations for your Mystery Skype call. As we continue our mapping component of this Social Studies Unit, I’m hoping to do something similar with my Grade 6’s. I may just have to eliminate Twitter searches until the Skype call is over. 🙂


  2. Aloha! Thanks so much for posting about our Skype chat on Friday. My students really enjoyed the activity! Even if they guessed right away you were in Canada, they still had fun and learned a lot! My students enthusiastically used their iPads to learn about your famous waterfalls and Wayne Gretzky!

    Most of all, I feel the Skype chat enabled us to extend learning beyond our classroom walls! Students were so motivated to learn from your students and share about their projects! It made learning real for my students! My students said “It was Awesome!” Thanks so much for the opportunity!

    We hope to connect more with you and your students! Look forward to more Skype chats! Good luck with your Teapot box project too!
    Many thanks again!

    Sending warm Aloha,

    • Thank you so much for the comment, Melvina! My students anxiously used the classroom tools to learn more about your school, more about Hawaii, and more about the United States. What a meaningful way to get the students reading and researching.

      We’re all excited about the Teapot Project and connecting with you more!

  3. Very clever kids! My grade 8 class has done 3 so far and I try not to give teacher’s name or twitter handle. They also go so far as to hide/not wear logos on clothing or to try and “trick” w/ logos. Sadly my kids are disappointed they haven’t figured out the other town first yet-they suspect it is because we are in a large city and so far we have Mystery Skyped w/small towns-as small as 300! Still having fun and problem solving along the way. So far we have adapted from the Mystery Skype wiki to fit our needs : suggestions all from the kids-
    Keep having fun with it-I hope to do more after spring break:) any takers?

    • Thanks for the comment and all of the great tips, Valerie! I definitely would like to try another Mystery Skype. It really works well with our Social Studies unit. I’d be up for one with you if you want. 🙂 Just let me know!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *