Within the past few months, I started doing Mystery Skype with my 5th grade class. For those who don’t know, a mystery Skype is a geography game which many students across the world are participating in! To sum it up, 2 classes in different parts of the world connect via Skype. The 2 classes are unaware of the others’ location. The classes take turns asking yes/no questions until they guess the other classes’ mystery location. We have only played against people in the United States, thus far. Some of the locations we have skyped include Delaware, Maine, and Missouri.
My students 100% love this activity. It’s a great way to sneak geography into the curriculum. While students are researching the mystery location, they are using a multitude of skills. Students think critically as they use answers to asked questions to narrow down the mystery location. Students practice their listening and speaking skills as they must listen to the clues given from the other class before deciding on their next question to ask. Furthermore, students are collaborating through their various roles while working to achieve a common goal!
Our first mystery Skype wasn’t the best. It was a little chaotic at times. If you are going to try this, you have to be ok with this. Students will get better over time and with practice. It’s important to debrief after the call with the class and discuss what went well, and what needs to be improved. We do this every time, and my students are very reflective. They suggest new jobs, how they can communicate better, and they think of what they learned from the other class. This is one of the reasons why I love this activity! My students become problem solvers as they reflect on how to grow from the experience. What great lifelong learning skills they are applying!
After the 2 classes guess the others location, the 2 classes typically connect and teach, or share, something interesting about their school or state. Today we finally got to do this! I was so impressed with my students taking an interest in learning about another state! My students were very curious about the weather, since our mystery location was in Maine. My students were blown away to find out they still go to school when it is -30 outside! Even I was amazed by that! This was a great example of learning through technology and being connected. I can’t wait for our next Mystery Skype to see what else we will learn about the world around us!
Below are some helpful links to Mystery skype resources that I have found.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on Mystery Skype and if you have other resources to share as well! Twitter is a great resource for Mystery Skype as well! So many teachers are willing to help newbies learn. All you have to do is send out a tweet with the #mysteryskype!