If you're looking for an engaging independent literacy center, look no further! The "Mystery Box" is a hot ticket item for center time in my classroom. Students have to use their investigative skills to solve the mystery of what is in the box.
Over the years of having my students complete this activity, I've realized that often times they need varying levels of support to crack the code. Each mystery box center kit includes the following:
1. Recording Sheet (the clues are listed on this sheet. There are also handwriting lines for the students to record a complete sentence of what they think is inside of the box. Additionally, an illustration box is available for the students to complete).
2. Picture Clue Card (this tool provides visual support for the sometimes hard to decode vocabulary words. This card also includes a QR code that can be scanned upon the completion of the activity to check their thinking.)
3. Key Card (this tool provides an auditory component. Through the app SnapChat I've recorded a video of myself reading the clues to the students. This was EXTREMELY beneficial near the beginning of the year and throughout the year for my beginning readers. This card includes a QR code that can be scanned to access the clue video).
I include all of these tools for use within the mystery box center. Each student gets to decide which combination of the tools they need to use in order to solve the mystery.
I laminate all of the clue cards and key cards [to extend their life expectancy] and place them on a binder ring for easy and organized access.
My students LOVE this weekly activity (especially the silly element that the Snap Chat videos contribute) and I just know that yours will too.
Mystery Box Items Include:
Week 1: apple
Week 2: cow
Week 3: cupcake
Week 4: dog