Mystery Locations is an educational game where your class uses GHO or Skype with another class somewhere else in the world. The goal is for each class to determine where the other is located using critical thinking, collaboration and geography skills.
Why Mystery Locations?
According to Paul Solarz (2013) “Reasons to Do a Mystery Skype” are numerous:
- Geography Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Listening & Speaking Skills
- Student Directed
- Student Resourcefulness
- Global Community of Learners
- Future Partnerships
- Authentic Purpose for Research
- Supports and links to the Curriculum
Connecting Classrooms around the World
Whilst this video is promoted by Skype it gives educators a snapshot of the educational benefits of Mystery Locations.
Ways to Play
Within my educational context I have used 3 particular styles to play.
- 20 questions - recommended for beginners and younger children.
- Students prepare 20 questions and 5-10 clues.
- Clue Drop - recommended for intermediately experienced classes.
- Statements like: we don’t have… we are not… we don’t live near...
- Yes or No - recommended for more experiences classes.
- Classes are only allowed to ask yes or no questions.
Mystery Locations Jobs
- Greeters - Say hello to the class and give some cool facts about the class without giving away their location.
- Questioners - These students ask the questions and are the voice of the classroom.
- Answers - They are the students who answer the other classes questions about their location.
- Runners - These students run from group to group relaying information.
- Google Mappers - They are the students that work with Google maps/earth studying the terrain and also piece together the clues.
- Globe Hunters - These students use atlases, pull down maps, country maps, paper maps, globes and time zone maps to piece clues together.
- Supervisor - Oversees the entire operation and takes notes on what worked and areas to improve on. They also lead the post-call debrief.
- Note Takers - These students type all of the questions and answers for review during the call and assists to develop the post-call blog.
- Reporter - Takes pictures/video during the call and assists to develop the post-call blog.
After the Mystery Location has been Identified
- Share information about country, state, city, and/or school
- Compare & contrast communities
- Make plans for future projects
- Share common projects
- Global Read Aloud, Maths Challenges, NPHCBlogIT, etc.
- Traveling scrapbook/journal
- Add Mystery location to Google map and/or wall map.
- Reporters write about event for classroom blog or twitter.
- Continue to make connections with class via Twitter, GHO & Skype.
How to Get Started
- Use Twitter to make connections and schedule Mystery Locations
- Use #mysteryskype #mysteryhangout #mysterylocations
- Connect with the Mystery Hangout Community on G+ & the Mystery Skype group
- Use the expertise of teachers who Mystery Skype
- Review the Program documents that myself and others use (Please note this is written for the NSW Geography Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum).
- Mystery Location Roles
- Example questions
- More examples
ReferencesPaul Solarz (2013) Becoming a Global Educator through Mystery Skypes