Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teaching Geography and Mystery Skype

In second grade, we learn about maps by using worksheets with maps of neighborhoods, states, and countries. We also learn to use a map key and compass rose.  This year, I am taking this a step further by doing Mystery Skype sessions with classrooms around the world.  

During a Mystery Skype, students will ask questions and try to figure out the location of the mystery skyper. Mystery Skype requires students to use their map skills to quickly locate areas on the map. We use an atlas and start on the page with whole world. Once we have pinpointed the continent, we turn to the page where that map is located. Some classrooms, who have access to iPads or laptops, can find the location using Google Maps. 

After we find the mystery location, I put the school address in Google Maps and we zoom in and take a look at the street view of the location. This helps the students generate questions about the other school and extends the conversation.  

To find classes to connect with, just use the #mysteryskype hashtag on Twitter and you will find many educators who are looking for classrooms to connect with. You can also join in on the Global Classroom Mystery Skype Project. Educators around the world are seeing the value of this simple but powerful learning activity!

Here is a typical Mystery Skype session:

Clue:  We are north of Texas
Q: are you in Oklahoma?
A: no
Q: Are you in Kansas?
A: no
Q: Are you in S. Dakota?
A: no
Q: Are you in the United States?
A: no. Great question!
Q:  Are you in Canada?
Clue: We are East of Alberta
Q: Are you in Saskatchewan?
A: No, we are further east.
Q: Are you in Quebec?
A: No, we are west of Quebec.

Q: Are you near Hudson Bay?
A: Our province touches Hudson Bay
Q: Are you in Ontario?
A: YES!!!!
Class Response: WooHoo!
If you have further questions, please leave comment!

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