This is a unit designed to go along with the wildly popular podcast, "Serial." The unit is extremely engaging for the students and focuses on analysis, persuasion, and critical thinking. After completing the unit with my own students, I took a survey to ask them what they thought; here are some of their reactions:
"[I like it] because it's more hands on and we as students can try to solve a mystery that has no definite answer. It allows us to develop our thinking skills."
"I really enjoy Serial because it is interesting and it' s real. It's challenging, it makes me think about and analyze everything. It enhances my critical thinking skills."
"I love breaking things down and using our brains to figure things out."
"It's very interesting and reminds me of the crime shows I see on TV. I feel like I'm in one of those."
"This was my favorite unit because we got to work on our own and it wasn't something to be taught. The person being graded has to pay attention and really get what's going own to get a good grade. It's DIFFERENT!!"
For an extremely detailed explanation of how to use this unit, you can go to my blog. Here, I describe not only how the unit progresses and how to use the materials I've provided for you, but I also have copies of student work and some of my own commentary about why I love this unit so much and why it's so effective. The explanation of these things was kind of long, so I split it between two posts. Here are the links for those: