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The purpose of this activity is to engage your students in an American Revolution detective activity. Many of the American colonists have been suffering from fatigue and extreme forgetfulness. It is up to the students to solve the mystery quote and the person who said the quote. Students will learn more about the American Revolution as they work through five different clues (activities) to help them return back to the 21st century.
Included in this 35-page resource:
- Teacher Tips (4-pages)
- Opening Scenario (1-page)
- Mystery Quote #1(1-page)
- Mystery Quote #1 Answer Key (1-page)
- Clue #1 Close Reading Passage (2-pages)
- Clue #1 Student Answer Sheet (1-page)
- Clue #1 Teacher Answer Key (1-page)
- Clue #2 Puzzle Time (1-page)
- Clue #3 Timeline (1-page)
- Clue #3 Card (1-page)
- Clue #3 Tent (1-page; 1 card)
- Clue #3 Timeline Answer Key (1-page)
- Clue #4 Puzzle Time (1-page)
- Clue #5 True or False (1-page)
- Clue #5 Events and People (4-pages; 12 cards)
- Clue #5 True or False Answer Key (1-page)
- Teacher Point Sheet (1-page; optional)
- Escape Room Point Sheet (1-page; 2 sheets; optional)
- Crossword Puzzle Extension Activity (2-pages)
- Crossword Puzzle Answer Key (1-page)
- Word Search Extension Activity (1-page)
- Word Search Answer Key (1-page)
- Creating Apps Extension Activity (1-page)
- Escape Room Reflection (2-pages; optional)
- Mystery Quote #2 (1-page)
- Mystery Quote #2 Answer Key (1-page)
How the activity works:
American Revolution: This is an activity about the American Revolution. It could be a stand-alone activity but could also be used as an effective introduction, extension of learning, or conclusion to your American Revolution unit.
Summary of Activity: The “Opening Scenario” will provide you with some more detail as to what your students will be asked to do. Students are going to travel back in time to help solve a mystery problem where American colonists are suddenly hit with fatigue and forgetfulness. Students will try to decode a quote from an American colonist. They get clues to the coded letters through five activities. More details about the five activities are included in these Teacher Tips. The quote is from Patrick Henry (“I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”).
Classroom Time: The activities will most likely take longer than one 45-minute classroom period, but this all depends on your students and how much time you actually have. If you feel that your students will need more time, you may want to have each group stop after Clue #3. If you choose to go this route, groups who finish early could work on one of the three extension activities (Creating Apps, Word Search, or the Crossword Puzzle).
Group Students: Once you have all the materials ready (copies made, puzzles cut out, etc.), decide on how you want to break your class up into groups. Groups of 3-4 seem to work the best for this activity. Each group will need to come up with a group name that relates to the American Revolution (The Colonists, Patriots, The Founding Fathers, etc.).
Escape Room Point Sheet: It is up to you if you want to use the point sheet. If you choose to do so, pass out a point sheet to each group and explain it. Basically, groups will need to earn 50 “Escape Points” to be able to return to the 21st century. If groups do not earn enough points, they have to remain back in the Colonial Era. Teams can earn points by completing each of the five clues and/or completing the extension activities. There is also a chance that a group will solve the mystery quote before the last clue. If a group does, it should still complete all five clues but could also try to solve the “Mystery Quote #2”.
Mystery Quote #1: Each group will need a copy of this. This handout provides your students with the coded mystery quote and author. As groups earn clues, they can record any decoded letters on this handout.
Technological Device: You may find it necessary that each group have at least one type of technology device handy so students can have access to the internet if they need help. With that said, all the information that students need for the activities should be included in the documents provided. Note: If students do have access to the internet, it is extremely important that they do not search for the quote itself.
Clues: There are five clues (activities) that each group will work through:
Clue #1 (Close Reading Passage)- Each group will need 1-2 copies of the reading passage. This is a passage about the American Revolution. Students will need to read the passage and then answer questions on their “Student Answer Sheet”. Clues to two coded letters will be found in the challenge section at the bottom. It’s up to you how you want to handle a group who cannot figure out the first name of the black man who was shot during the Boston Massacre. You could give the group a couple letters if you felt it is necessary, or you could simply let the group know that it will need to move onto Clue #2 without getting any clues from the first activity. After a group completes the activity, have them show you. An answer key is provided. Optional: Record their points on their point sheet and your point sheet.
Clue #2 (Puzzle Time)- This is a puzzle that should be cut up and placed in an envelope ahead of time. Groups will put the puzzle together, revealing two coded letter clues. The picture is a picture of Patrick Henry. After a group completes the activity, have them show you. Optional: Record their points on their point sheet and your point sheet.
Clue #3 (Timeline)- Each group will need a copy of the “Clue #3 Timeline” handout. For this activity, students will cut out the events on the right column and paste them next to the appropriate date. You will also need to print off 2-3 sets of the “Clue #3 Card” document. These cards need to be cut up and placed face down on a table in your classroom. The “Clue #3 Tent” can be folded in half and placed next to these cards. After a group completes the activity, have them show you. When each group gets the timeline events in the correct order, have them choose a card for a clue to the author and two letter clues. An answer key is provided for this activity. Optional: Record their points on their point sheet and your point sheet.
Clue #4 (Puzzle Time)- This is a puzzle that should be cut up and placed in an envelope ahead of time. Each group will need a puzzle. Groups will put the puzzle together to form another quote by Patrick Henry. There is one word in the quote that has coded letters. It is up to the students to figure out what the word (FUTURE). After a group completes the activity, have them show you. Optional: Record their points on their point sheet and your point sheet.
Clue #5 (True or False)- Each group will need a copy of the “Clue #5 True or False” handout. Each group will also need a copy of the “Clue #5 Events and People” cards. These should be printed off and cut up ahead of time- but cutting up may be optional. Students will use the cards to answer the true and false questions. The true answers will spell out the word “Course”. Some groups may need help with understanding that the word “course” is a hint because it’s in the actual quote they need to decode. In addition to the word “course”, there are also coded letter clues on some of the event and people cards. After a group completes the activity, have them show you. Optional: Record their points on their point sheet and your point sheet.
Mystery Quote #2: If a group figures out the Mystery Quote #1 before reaching the last clue, they can work on the “Mystery Quote #2” handout. The only clues they will have to solve this quote are the coded letters from the five activities. The group should, however, finish each of the clues to be sure their answer is correct and for them to get all of the information about the American Revolution.
Extension Activities: There are three extension activities included (Creating Apps, Word Search, and Crossword Puzzle). Answer keys are provided for the Word Search and Crossword Puzzle.
Engagement & Classroom Management Tips:
- You could play some Revolutionary War music in the background as students work.
- Pretend you are a colonist and dress up with a white wig, a hat, and/or a blue coat.
- Be sure that you have all of the needed materials printed off and ready to go.
- If you feel that your students will need an additional class period, you may want to have them stop after they finish Clue #3. If they do, they could work on one of the extension ideas. Note: You may want to remind students not to talk about their answers with the other students if you end the “Escape Room” activity early. It’s also important that they do not try to search for the quote when they get home.
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