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Mystery Game

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Keywords: Living and Nonliving
Subject(s): Social Skills, Art, Technology, Early Learning, Life Science, Writing, Music, Biology, Photography, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar, Science, Journalism, Drama, Math
Grades P-K through 3
School: Santa Gertrudis Elementary MS, Kingsville, TX
Planned By: Jessica Hester
Original Author: Jessica Hester, Kingsville
Step 1: Take students outside! Yes... outside!

Step 2: Students must be divided into two groups: photographers and collectors. Allow each student team to either photograph or collect 3 samples each of living and nonliving things. All items collected must fit into a snack size ziplock baggie that has been covered with black construction paper. WARNING: Discuss with students that if they do not know what something is... do not touch it. The teacher should carefully monitor the collection group or have them ask before collecting.

Step 3: Each actual item MUST be drawn and identifed in the science journal prior to photographing or collecting it and the student must be able to verify whether it is a living or nonliving item.

Step 4: Students will then a write a short song or poem about each item.

Step 4: Students will return to the classroom to determine if the items photographed or collected are living or nonliving simply by observing their physical characteristics.

Digital photographs will be uploaded into the computer and zoomed in to the preferred level then projected or displayed on the smart board. The collectors will try to determine if the photographers items are living or nonliving. For each correct answer, the team will earn one point.

Collected items can be displayed either with the document camera zoomed in or with the digital microscope. The photographers will then try to determine if the collectors' items are living or nonliving. For each correct answer, the team will earn one point.

Before each team makes it's final decision on an item, the team must use the karaoke microphone to perform the song or poem they wrote about their item as a clue.... but it should not give away too much information!

Step 5: Place all items and photographs on display on the document camera or computer (slide show mode). Display this during the journal reflection time.

Step 6: Journal reflection: Ask students to answer these questions in complete sentences:

1. By observing the unknown items, and receiving clues, how can you now tell the difference between something that is living and something that is nonliving?

2. Did technology help you to see, or observe parts of the items that you may not have known were there before?

3. Which do you think is a better way to observe nature: taking photographs or collecting items. WHY?

3. Draw a table that shows the things you discovered today. Divide the items into two groups, living and nonliving. Count the items in the table. Were there more living or nonliving items examined today?

3. Draw a picture of yourself doing this lab. Be sure to use labels.

Step 7: The team with the most points wins the digital cameras for five minutes of free time to take photographs of anything they like in the classroom... including their friends. This is great for the last five minutes of class... it encourages enthusiastic clean up time after the lab!
Materials: Whiteboards, Digital Cameras, Wildlife, Point and Shoot, Projectors, Projector Screens, Microphones, Art Tools, Microscopes, Camera/Video Accessories, Computer Accessories