Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Questions to ask during a #MysterySkype

Probably the hardest part about a Mystery Skype is having the students become critical thinkers. They have to think logically and have to know whether a question is a good one or not. The conversation can be fast and furious and if students aren't paying attention or thinking logically and critically, they might repeat questions or ask ones that aren't helpful at all.

If you are doing your first #mysteryskype, it's helpful to practice with your students prior to the actual call, especially if you are working with younger students. A good way to practice is to simply pick a state in your mind and have your students ask questions to guess which one.

Pernille Ripp, a fantastic teacher that first got me interested in Mystery Skyping, has a great list of questions to help you get started. I'm reproducing her list here.

For the USA
  • Are you in North America?
  • Are you in the United States?
  • Are you east of the Mississippi?
Depending on the answer to that, you can go in different directions:
If east of Mississippi:
  • Are you one of the original 13 colonies?
  • Do you border a Great Lake?
  • Do you border an ocean?
  • Do the Appalachians run through your state?
  • Do you border Canada?
  • Are you Northeast/Midwest/Southeast region?
  • Do you border the Gulf of Mexico?
If west of the Mississippi:
  • Are you in the West/Southwest region?
  • Do you border the Pacific?
  • Do the Rocky Mountains run through your state?
  • Do you border Canada?
  • Is your state landlocked?
  • Are you one of the contiguous states?
For Canada:
  • Are you in North America?
  • Are you in Canada?
  • Do you border a ocean?
  • Do you border Alaska?
  • Do you border the Hudson Bay?
  • Are you landlocked?
  • Does your province have a NHL team?
  • Do you border the United States?
  • Do the Rocky Mountains touch your province?
  • Are you north of British Columbia?


Remember that these are only suggestions to help the students get ideas. Your questions will totally depend on where the other class is and what kinds of clues you have. I would avoid vague questions such as Does it snow where you live? or Do you live in the north? Don't let the students start guessing state names too quickly. It is probably easier to ask more questions to narrow down the choices to only two or three states.


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