MysteryQuest – The Format: Wikispaces Archive

Since Wikispaces is closing down, I’m moving my collaborative videoconference projects over to my blog for archiving. Great project formats can still be used and adapted!

MysteryQuest

A “MysteryQuest” is a specific videoconference collaborative project made popular by Janine Lim at Berrien RESA between 2002 and 2011. Please visit the History section to learn more about how this developed.

In a MysteryQuest videoconference, 2 – 6 classes connect together to share clues about geography, history, or other content; and then research to find out what the other classes presented. Here are some of the different agendas used in MysteryQuests:

Original 2.5 Hour Agenda
(used by LearningSpace and the first middle school world geography sessions by Berrien RESA)

  • 10 min. Introductions and Videoconference Directions (moderated)
  • 50 min. Classroom Presentations (5-7 min. each for 6 presentations)
  • 30 min. The Quest: Locating Sites. Classrooms divide into 5 teams to pin-point the mystery locations presented by the other 5 classrooms. During this time each team will come up with one yes/no question to ask each of the other classrooms.
  • 20 min. Question and Answers: Be prepared and efficient! This section will be tightly moderated.
    Classroom 1 answers all questions.
    Classroom 2 answers all questions.
    Classroom 3 answers all questions.
    Classroom 4 answers all questions.
    Classroom 5 answers all questions.
    Classroom 6 answers all questions.
  • 10 min. Classroom teams ‘reevaluate’ their answers.
  • 10 min. Each classroom presents their guesses to the clues.
  • 10 min. Correct mystery locations revealed by each classroom.
  • Congratulations and sign-off.

2 Hour Agenda for 4th-5th Grade US Geography

  • 5 min. Introductions and Videoconference Directions (moderated) (NO SCHOOL INTRODUCTIONS as some people are presenting their actual location).
  • 55 min. Classroom Presentations (5-7 min. each for 6 presentations)
  • 30 min. The Quest: Locating Sites (Classrooms divide into 5 teams to pin-point the mystery locations presented by the other 5 classrooms. During this time each team will come up with one yes/no question to ask each of the other classrooms.)
  • 10 min. Question and Answers: Be prepared and efficient! This section will be tightly moderated. (Classroom 1 answers all questions. Classroom 2 answers all questions, etc. )
  • 10 min. Classroom teams ‘reevaluate’ their answers.
  • 5 min. Each classroom presents their guesses to the clues.
  • 5 min. Correct mystery locations revealed by each classroom.
  • Congratulations and sign-off.

1 Hour Agenda for Middle School World Geography with 4 classes max

  • 1 min Intro & Directions (no more school intros; you can add two sentences max to your presentation if you keep the total to 7 minutes or less)
  • 4 groups x 7 min presentations = 30 min. for group presentations
  • 15 minutes for research (can use computers from the start)
  • We’re SKIPPING the Q&A and re-evaluate to increase the pressure, make it harder, and make it shorter.
  • 5 min. Each classroom presents their guesses to the clues.
  • 5 min. Correct mystery locations revealed by each classroom.
  • Note: World geography has more required clues than the HistoryQuests

45 min. HistoryQuest8 with 4 classes max

  • 1 min: Intro & Directions
  • 20 min: 4 classes do 5 min presentations or (25 min for 5 classes)
  • 15 min: Research and solve (students can use computers from the start)
  • 3-5 min. Each classroom presents their guesses to the clues.
  • 3-5 min. Correct history mysteries revealed by each classroom.
  • no Q&A to make it harder!

1.5 hour Agenda for 5th grade HistoryQuest with 4-6 classes

  • 5 min. Introductions and Videoconference Directions (moderated)
  • 30 min. Classroom Presentations (5 min. each for 5-6 presentations)
  • 20 min. The Quest (Classrooms divide into 5 teams to pin-point the mystery clues presented by the other 5 classrooms. During this time each team will come up with one yes/no question to ask each of the other classrooms.)
  • 10 min. Question and Answers: Be prepared and efficient! This section will be tightly moderated. (i.e. Classroom 1 answers all questions; classroom 2 answers all questions; etc.)
  • 5 min. Classroom teams ‘reevaluate’ their answers.
  • 5 min. Each classroom presents their guesses to the clues.
  • 5 min. Correct mystery answers revealed by each classroom.
  • Congratulations, goodbye cheers, and sign-off.

Point to Point MysteryQuest

  • 5 min. Welcome and introductions. Each class shares their location and brief information about their school.
    Visuals: Use document camera or PowerPoint to share a few local pictures of interest.
  • 15 min. Clues presentation. Each class shares a 5-7 minute presentation of clues.
    Visuals: Skit, iMovie illustration, or PowerPoint with digital pictures, posters with large letters.
  • 20-30 min. Silence on the videoconference. Each class works busily solve the mystery or guess the event, person, location.
  • 20 min. Answers and discussion. Each class presents their solution and discusses the answer with the other class. Students can ask each other questions regarding the problem solving process and content. If extra time, students may enjoy asking each other questions about their respective locations and schools.

Facilitating Your Own MysteryQuest

If you would like to facilitate your own MysteryQuest project, please feel free to do so. This document provides some tips on doing so.

Using the Website
You are welcome to use this page to support your own MysteryQuest project. If you feel you need your own website, please give credit to the original project created by Janine Lim and Kelly Gaideski, Berrien RESA. Please link to this page.

Communication with Participating Classrooms
I send a confirmation letter to the teachers participating to confirm their date and CC the tech coordinators. Also, I keep track of the countries being presented so that there are no duplicates. In addition, I email the Curriculum and Planning Packet to the teachers so they can effectively prepare for the project. Don’t forget to edit the contact information in the file! Please leave the credit information in the footer. Reminders & count down information should be emailed to teachers as well. Test calls need to be scheduled with the tech coordinators at each site. In addition, you’ll be answering various questions from teachers as they prepare for the event.

Keeping Track
I create a Word table with the crucial event information: School Name & Letter (A-F), Teacher Name, Teacher Phone, Dial Information/Number, Country they are presenting, Tech Name, Tech Phone, Phone Number in Room, Test Date. As test calls are finished and details completed, I shade the cell so I know it is done.

Facilitating the Event
These notes follow the agenda. For ease of reading, the 9:00 start time will be used. Of course, adapt this to the time frame you are using for your event. And feel free to tweak with these instructions. There isn’t just one right way to do this!
I create a little chart for myself such as the one below to keep track of who I’m calling on when (it can get confusing if you lose track, and then everyone’s confused! :>) I include the school name with the number, as well as the country. I also print the agenda to write notes as well as notes on which schools are each number.
I also jot down Y or N for yes or no on what the answer was. This also helps me gauge how much time the classes need for reconsidering the answers.

1 2 3 4 5 6
1 x
2 Y x
3 Y x
4 N x
5 Y x
6 N x

T-30 min. Have the connection up for everyone to dial in. Hopefully all your sites will have dialed in by 15 min. before the connection. Keep a list of the six sites in front of you. Use the same order for referring to everyone (1-6). Call on each site as they get connected and check audio and video. Make sure everyone can hear and see everyone else.

9:00: Introductions and Videoconference Directions (Janine Lim will moderate)

  • Introduce yourself and welcome everyone to the project. List the places connected. Give a quick overview again of the schedule.
  • Remind everyone to mute when it’s not their turn to talk.
  • Encourage students to speak up, speak slowly, loudly, and clearly.
  • Remind everyone to get out their note taking forms.
  • Encourage students to listen carefully to the presentations.
  • Tell them to relax and enjoy the connection! This is about fun and learning, not about competing with each other!
  • Call on each site in order to do a quick introduction of their school and where they are located.

9:10-10:00: Classroom Presentations (5-7 min. each for 6 presentations)

  • Announce each site before they present. (Now we’ll turn it over to Classroom 1 for their presentation. …. Thank you classroom 1. Classroom 2?) Be sure to refer to the classrooms by number, as this is how the teachers are keeping track of which group is taking notes.
  • If you have the ability, force the video to the presenting class each time so that any extraneous noise doesn’t switch the video so visual clues are missed.
  • If a presentation is hard to understand or hear, stop them and get the problem fixed. It’s no use letting them continue when no one can understand or take notes on their presentation. Don’t be afraid to interrupt! The clues are soooo important!!
  • After a class does their presentation, ask the other classrooms in order (1-6) if they need any repeats of the clues. Encourage teachers to find out if the rest of the class has the information already before asking for something to be repeated. Ask schools not to ask for a repeat unless none of the students have the information. Don’t take more than 3-4 repeats per school, otherwise you’ll run out of time later.
  • After doing repeats, then ask Classroom 2 if they are ready or need a little time to set up. Don’t rush a school if they are setting up. Indicate that it is fine and we’ll wait till you’re ready.

10:00-10:40: The Quest: Locating Sites

Classrooms divide into 5 teams to pin-point the mystery locations presented by the other 5 classrooms.
During this time each team will come up with one yes/no question to ask each of the other classrooms.

  • After each presentation, schools have 40 minutes to research. You may be tempted to shorten this time, but they really do need the full time.
  • I use BigClock on my Palm and set it to count down 40 minutes. I zoom the document camera in close on the clock. Kids love to see that clock and know how much time they have left.
  • Remind schools to have their questions ready when they come back. Remind them of the rules – that the question is a yes/no answer, it shouldn’t ask the name of the country (don’t give it away for the other schools), and that they only get one question per classroom. Ask teachers to have students up at the mic ready to ask the questions, as that section will move quickly.
  • You could allow schools to disconnect during this time if you want (personally I prefer that they don’t).

10:40-11:00 Question and Answers: Be prepared and efficient! This section will be tightly moderated.

Classroom 1 answers all questions.
Classroom 2 answers all questions.
Classroom 3 answers all questions.
Classroom 4 answers all questions.
Classroom 5 answers all questions.
Classroom 6 answers all questions.

  • This section should be tightly moderated. If possible force the video to the classroom answering the questions.
  • Remind schools again of the rules. They shouldn’t ask “is your country the USA?” One question per classroom, and it should be a yes/no question.
  • Encourage teachers to have students up at the mic ready to ask and answer the questions.
  • You may facilitate as follows:
    • Classrooom 1, are you ready to answer questions?
    • Classroom 2, your question for Classroom 1? … Thank you.
    • Classroom 3, your question for Classroom 1? … Alright, Classroom 5?
    • Classroom 4, your question for CLassroom 1? … Thanks. Classroom 6?
    • Classroom 2 are you ready to answer questions?
    • Classroom 1, what is your question for Classroom 2? … Ok. Classroom 3? etc.
  • I find that I have to keep a finger on who is answering as I go down the list of the classes to keep them straight!

11:00-11:10: Classroom teams ‘reevaluate’ their answers.

  • After the Q&A, give classes the full 10 minutes to re evaluate their answers. Use the BigClock again if possible.
  • Encourage teams who are sure of the answer to help the other teams.

11:10-11:20: Each classroom presents their ‘answers’ to the clues.

  • When everyone comes back after 10 minutes, then have each class present their answers. Encourage teachers to have the students saying the answer come right up to the mic and be ready.
  • It could go like this:
    • Classroom 1, your answer for Classroom 2? Your answer for Classroom 3? Your answer for Classroom 4? …
    • Alright, classroom 2. What are your answers? for Classroom 1? ….
  • Have them say it again if it isn’t clear or they said it too fast to understand.
  • Remind kids that they won’t find out right now if they are right or not. They should frame their answer as: “Our guess for classroom 1 is that the country is * and the city is *.” (Sometimes they say, is it xxx? and then wait for a reply.)

11:20-11:30: Correct mystery locations revealed by each classroom.

  • Then have each classroom present the correct answer. Again go in order (1-6).

11:30: Congratulations and sign-off.

  • At the end, congratulate everyone for a job well done, creative presentations, etc.
  • Remind teachers to fill out the evaluation (if you are doing one).
  • Encourage kids to clap for each other, and to wave goodbye.

History

Learning Space
This project is modeled after the Where in the USA project by Learning Space (1996-2004). LearningSpace ran two projects like this: Where in Washington and Where in the USA?

Berrien RESA
In 2002, Berrien RESA created the MysteryQuest World: middle school world geography version and offered it widely across the U.S. and internationally.

In 2005, when LearningSpace was no longer running Where in the USA?; Berrien RESA started running MysteryQuest USA which was also offered widely across the U.S.

In 2008, Berrien RESA ran LiteratureQuest, designed by Kim Fritz, a teacher who participated in the 123 VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with Videoconferencing workshop.

In 2009, inspired by the Texas History Mystery and Wisconsin History Mystery based on MysteryQuest; Berrien RESA added HistoryQuest5: Beginnings to 1800 and HistoryQuest8: Civil War or Revolutionary War.

In May 2011, Berrien RESA bequeathed these popular projects to Whirlidurb to run in the future, as Roxanne Glaser is an incredible facilitator and has contributed to the quality of materials and facilitation materials for MysteryQuest since 2007.

TWICE
In 2007, TWICE started running an annual Where in MI?


MysteryQuest Lesson Ideas

These are a sampling of lesson ideas written by teachers in various classes… all of them are based on the MysteryQuest format:

A sampling of projects posted in CAPspace based on the MysteryQuest format:

One reply

  1. […] is the professional development version of MysteryQuest, so instead of being narrowed to a specific area of the world like other MysteryQuests, the […]

Leave a Reply to MysteryQuest Beaches Videoconference: Wikispaces Archive – Out on a Lim Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.