3 Ways to Use Mysteries as Critical Thinking Activities

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Students need to practice critical thinking skills. Mysteries are a great way to do that. While students are solving mysteries, they are collecting and evaluating information, putting information together from different sources, applying logic, and then expressing and defending an opinion.

But using mysteries in the classroom isn't easy, particularly for ESL teachers. There's a lot of language processing and genre knowledge that students need to successfully read a mystery novel. But that all distracts from solving the mystery--the bit that uses critical thinking!

In this video I'll talk about three strategies I use to adapt mysteries for the classroom: picture mysteries, graphic organizers, and Clue by Clue games.

You also get to play along with a fun mystery activity and see how it works!

And you can DOWNLOAD the FREE activity in the Supporting Document and use it in your classroom.

This video and all supporting documents are for personal classroom use only. No part of this resource may be used in the creation of any type of new resource.

Want to check out some more mystery games?

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Clue by Clue Mysteries in PowerPoint


SAVE$$: Clue by Clue Power Point Bundle


The Candy Thief Halloween-Themed mystery for younger learners.


The Weird Break-In PowerPoint Who broke into a store without stealing anything? And why?


The Perfect Crime PowerPoint A woman kills her husband without getting caught. How?


An Unrelated Murder PowerPoint Police can find no connection between the killer and the victim.


Imprisoned Power Point A woman ends up in prison without being arrested. Based on a true story. What happened?


Murder of a Millionaire PowerPoint The longest Clue by Clue.An elaborate Agatha Christie-style mystery with many suspects and many secrets.Whodunit?


ElevatorRoutine PowerPoint A classic riddle about a woman who always gets off the elevator two stories below her apartment. Why?


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PrintablePDF Clue by Clues


SAVE$$: Clue by Clue Printable PDF Bundle


TheCandy Thief A Halloween-themed mystery for younger learners.


Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board A Logic Puzzle to figure out who turned a Halloween party into a murder.


The Weird Break In Who broke into a store without stealing anything? And why?


ThePerfect Crime A woman kills her husband without getting caught. How?


An Unrelated Murder Police can find no connection between the killer and the victim.


Imprisoned! A woman ends up in prison without being arrested. Based on a true story. What happened?


Murder of a Millionaire A woman ends up in prison without being arrested. Based on a true story. What happened?


The Elevator Routine Riddle A classic riddle about a woman who always gets off the elevator two stories below her apartment. Why?


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Other Mystery Activities

MysteryStory Reading Graphic Organizer Help students solve mysteries by organizing the information.


The Whodunit Lesson Plan: A full integrated skills lesson plan


MysteryStory Cards A planning tool to help students write their own mysteries


VideoTutorial: Using Mysteries in Class See Clue by Clues and other mystery activities in action.

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Walton Burns

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