## Tuesday, November 13, 2018

### Great Ideas for Mystery Skype & Hangouts

This week I am welcoming some guest bloggers. This one is from Sarah Fromhold.

Mystery Skype is a concept that first began around 2011. The premise is that students Skype with another class somewhere in the world, and each class tries to guess the location of the schools by asking yes or no questions. When participating in a Mystery Skype, students are hitting three out of the four Cs--collaborating with classmates, communicating with the other school, and critically thinking when figuring out what to ask next based on the previous answer.

Mystery Skype is an amazing opportunity for all students, but it can be difficult to complete with younger grades (K-3). Due to their age, they don’t have a lot of experience with maps and globes, and may not have the schema of major cities other than the one to which they live closest.

If you teach younger students, and want your students to have a similar experience, you may want to consider connecting to guess a mystery number, shape, or animal!

Mystery Number is an excellent way to practice place value and number sense. Each class would apply their knowledge of even and odd, comparison language, skip counting, and the value of each digit in the number.
• Before the day of the Skype/Hangout, students in Class A and B each choose a number. Depending on the standard and grade, numbers could range from 0 - 100,000.
• Students in each class work together to list the properties of their number.
• When the classes connect via Skype or Google Hangouts, Class A begins by asking yes/no questions about Class B’s number. These questions could include:
• Is the value of the digit in the hundreds place greater than 400?
• Would we say your number if we were skip counting by 10s?
• Is your number less than 275?
• Each time a question is answered, the choices are narrowed down and numbers are crossed out based on the previous answer.
• When Class A has guessed Class B’s answer, they switch roles and it’s Class B’s turn to ask questions and guess!
• At the end of the game, both classes can share information about where they live, the weather in their area, and have the opportunity to ask questions about the other school.
Preschool and kindergarten students can apply knowledge of the physical characteristics of animals by playing Mystery Animal. To play Mystery Shape, the premise is exactly the same, but the students would ask questions about a two-dimensional or three-dimensional shape.

Ready to get started? Here are some tips!
1. You can find classes who are interested in connecting in many ways. You can tweet to the #MysterySkype hashtag, post in the Connected Classrooms or Mystery Hangout Google Plus communities, or reach out to your instructional technology department/campus liaison.

2. Review good questioning strategies before the Skype/Hangout. You might want to create a question bank for the students to reference.

3. This activity can be quite unstructured. If your students require a bit more structure, you can assign a job to each student. Some jobs include, but are not limited to:

• Greeter - The student who will greet the other class once you are connected. Sometimes the greeters play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to decide who will go first!
• Question Asker(s) - The student(s) who will ask the questions at the computer. You could have one asker per table group, and each question comes from a different table.