Lesson 3: Solving Mysteries!
Students will learn about deductive reporting skills and how to reach logical conclusions while strengthening reading skills.
•Understanding narrative accounts (poems and stories)
•Uses general skills/strategies of the reading process
For a complete list of standards, click here .
1. Tell students that writing an article is sometimes like solving a mystery. Journalists often need to uncover important information when writing articles. Explain that the five Ws are valuable tools in gathering information for an article or solving a mystery.
2. Describe the stages of solving a mystery: First, make observations and write them down. Second, rule out unimportant or misleading clues—these are clues that won’t help you solve the mystery. Finally, look at the evidence and use what you know to draw conclusions.3. Remind students that it is important to always stick to the facts. The five Ws can help!
4. Distribute Printable 3: Maya and the Missing Pudding (PDF). Instruct students to read the story at the top of the page. Then, have students answer the questions in Part 2.
5. Create a 3-column table on the board. Column headings should read Evidence, Possible Solutions, and Conclusion. As a class, fill in the table with information from the story. Ask the students to work together to solve the mystery of the missing pudding. Review answers as a class. (Answers: 1. Maya never mentioned what the snack was, so Marco couldn’t have known it was pudding unless he took it; 2. Possible answer: Marco put it there; 3. It looked like the dog may have taken it; 4. Maya couldn’t have proven that Marco took the pudding because he could have known what the snack was by looking through the bag.)
Divide students into groups of three. Instruct each group to write a mini-mystery for the class. Remind students to make sure that their stories answer the five Ws. Once complete, have each group present their mystery to the class and have the other students solve the mystery by answering the five Ws.
From the mystery story, your students have learned that everything may not be exactly what it seems. Reinforce this lesson by distributing Bonus Activity 3: Fact or Opinion? (PDF) . Review the instructions as a class and help guide your students through the fact or opinion activity. (Answers: 1. think, must, bet, imagine; 2. The robber wore a heavy coat, a watch, muddy shoes, and green pants; 3. the robber was mean, the chief doesn’t trust farmers, the robber likes the color blue, the robber likes potato soup, the chief imagines the robber is from New York.)