The sky went dark the morning of May 19, 1780, in New England. The darkness traveled quickly from the West and did not go away until the following day. At the time and in years following the event, many theories have been offered to explain the darkness.
After receiving an overview of the situation, students working in groups form a hypothesis giving their explanation of the mysterious event. The students then receive three sets of clues, one set at a time, to help them solve the mystery. They examine excerpts from newspaper articles, letters, and diaries written at the time. They analyze charts detailing the occurrences of eclipses, planetary transits, and volcanoes in history. They consider modern-day events that have darkened the sun and determine whether or not connections can be made. During the lesson students use critical thinking skills and collaboration to revise their hypotheses based on new information contained in the clues. In the end each group presents its final explanation of what caused the Dark Day of New England.
This lesson contains instructions detailing the procedure of this mystery lesson, a graphic organizer, three clue sets with a total of 19 clues, possible student answers, and a complete reference list.
These other Mystery from History Lessons are also available at my store:
Link-The Lost Colony of Roanoke
Link-The Sinking of the U.S.S. Maine
Link-Pearl Harbor - Did U.S. Leaders Have Advance Knowledge of the Attack?
Link-The Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories