Students assume the role of special agents to explore the components of mysteries before creating their own mini mysteries. They visit the FBI website and create special agent IDs before reading, mapping and solving short mysteries in print and on the Internet. This simulation includes a list of short mysteries in print and an excellent set of websites for students to visit throughout the webquest. At each site, they collect a graphic and the site's web address to create a set of web stamps, similar to steamer trunk stamps. These are printed and placed on agent briefcases to show their travels. Details for briefcases and a sample of stamps are included in the lesson plans. In addition, a template for creating the agent ID is available along with a message to introduce the project to students.
A two-minute mystery map is included along with a blank story map for student use. A day by day timeline aids the teacher in pacing as does a guide for student visits to the FBI's website, when they undergo Special Agent Training.
Eventually, students begin plotting their own two-minute mysteries using nursery rhymes as the basis. The lesson includes a guide on how to write a two-minute mystery as well as web resources with more detailed instruction. Suggestions for mysteries within many nursery rhymes are, also, included.
Many optional activities are suggested within the webquest: digital mystery guessing game using PowerPoint and two digital camera images, exploring codes and brain teasers, and placing completed mysteries on a school website.
This exciting webquest won a Lesson Plan award at the Nebraska Educational Technology Association Convention and has been used successfully with mainstream classes of fifth, sixth and seventh graders. It is proof-positive that learning can be fun and engaging!
This lesson has recently been edited so all files are contained in one Word document.