This activity puts students into the shoes of a detective trying to solve a historical murder. Through close reading of provided information, navigating to specific websites, and analyzing evidence provided students will work together to come up with a logical accusation to the question, “who killed Julius Caesar?” Students who may already know the answer to this question will still have to gather evidence during the activity to back up their accusation. It is one thing to accuse someone of a crime; it is another to actually have the evidence that proves you are right!
I have run this activity through my 7th grade class and they can usually complete is within 90-120 minutes. Sometimes I needed more time to deal with technical issues (logging on to computers, internet troubles, etc.). I have set up the web quest document to work whether it is given to students digitally, or if they print it out and work from a hard copy. A computer is required to complete this activity though.
• Explain to students that they are going to complete a web quest activity to solve the mystery of who killed Julius Caesar.
• They will work in groups of 3-4 to complete this assignment.
• As they go through the web quest information they should read the information, follow the internet links, and answer the questions on their worksheets. (Each website is listed under its link, so this web quest can be given to students digitally or on paper. If a hard copy is given to students they just need to physically type the web addresses into their browsers.)
• Students can either investigate each suspect as a group, or assign each student to investigate a different suspect and then bring their information together to collaborate.
• Students will be directed to collect “Eyewitness Accounts” for each subject. These accounts should be printed out to hand to students. Each account has four letter incorrectly capitalized within the text. When students put those capitalized letters into order they each spell a four letter Latin work. When they put those words in order it makes the phrase, “Veni Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered).” This is just a little bonus puzzle for them to solve as they work.
• Students can either hand write their answers to the questions on the worksheet, or they can do so digitally, depending on what works best for the teacher.
• At the end the class can have a discussion on who killed Caesar and why. Some may have come to the wrong conclusion, and this would be a good opportunity to look at the evidence and see if they were logical in their thinking, they may have been even if they got the answer wrong!