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Mystery Box is an intriguing collection of 50 cards that offers students fun practice using critical thinking strategies and oral language skills. Each of the cards presents a mysterious situation that needs to be solved; students try to decode the given information on each card to find all possible meanings. Students solve the mysteries by asking the teacher questions about the mystery to help them figure out logical explanations.
This method encourages students to think beyond the obvious and to listen very carefully to detail. These mystery cards are ideal for spontaneous or planned language activities, and will encourage students to think and reason in new and exciting ways. An Instruction Card is included that explains Overview, Objectives, Teaching Suggestions, Clues, Analogy, and Solutions.
The mystery cards are divided into three difficulty levels-10 Beginner, 25 Intermediate, and 15 Advanced. On the front of each foldover card is a Mystery; inside the card are the Clues, Analogy Clarification, and the Solution. Teachers read the Mystery out loud as many times as needed. Students then begin asking questions in a search to unravel the Mystery. There is no limit to the number of questions, but they can only be answered by "Yes" or "No." Under certain circumstances, the teacher is also permitted to answer "Not relevant" in order to help the student.
There are three clues inside each Mystery card that should be used only if students need extra help in solving the mystery. These clues can come from more than 31 categories that assist students, such as Be Realistic, Consider Alternatives, Explore All Possibilities, Focus on Detail, Look at the Whole Picture, Break the Whole Into Parts, Beware of Irrelevant Facts, and many more.
The final clue on the card is an Analogy. These provide an opportunity for an extended educational experience since they offer a unique way to analyze the situation. The Analogy Clarification on each card also offer an opportunity to practice analogies in preparation for standardized tests. A visual component can be added by putting the comparison on the board in analogy format.
Below is an example of an Intermediate Level Mystery:
"The man died in a skiing accident. His death was caused by vandalism that had taken place earlier in the evening. The vandal was known but there was never a trial, and no charges of murder or manslaughter were ever filed. Why was this vandal not prosecuted?"
Work Backwards - Who was in the area at the time of the vandalism?
Analogy - The honey bee is his own worst enemy.