In a world where NCIS and CSI consistently make an appearance amongst the top 20 most-watched-television-shows, it is pretty safe to say people enjoy engaging in a good mystery. And I mean “engaging” in the fullest extent of the word: when BBC started up Sherlock, everyone I knew was suddenly talking in British accents, smoking calabash pipes, and inspecting things from table counters to bologna sandwiches. People love cracking a case, even if they have to make up the case themselves.
Consider feeding off that energy by introducing mystery to the classroom. You could have students gather clues to figure out why a hypothetical market crashed, or inspect properties of different bacteria to identify what killed the infected murder victim. By framing the lesson as a mystery, you get your students to engage in the material in a way many of them engage recreationally.
For ideas and templates of established ‘mystery lessons,’ visit Mystery Spot at http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot/
Tip provided by: Jon Pumper