All he wants is to be human again . . .
Use this mystery prompt to see what ideas your students come up with about 'what could have happened?'
Prep: Print and laminate the image below into a card to use for an early finisher or writing center activity.
Display on the board for a whole class writing activity.
There are plenty of ways you may wish to use this prompt. If you would like some ideas, please keep reading below the image prompt.
Remind everyone that there's no right and wrong, otherwise there would be no room for creative thinking in this task.
To develop this as a writing activity, you could extend it by having your students write a full story.
The below video is my original story that goes with this prompt. This is in no way a 'correct' answer, just an example of a possible story that works with this prompt. To find out the HOW and the WHY to my story, is part of the math mystery resource packet that goes with the video below.
You may wish to skip this option.
Solve the case! WHY did this happen to the Scorcher, and HOW can he be cured of this flaming condition?
If you are interested in extending this mystery activity by integrating it with your math lesson and giving your students lots of math practice and review, click on your grade level below to find the file case on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Each of the five math pages will require students to complete math to unlock clues. Be sure to check out the product description to see the specific math skills covered in that grade version.
Not sure what a math mystery is? Do you want to know more about how to use them? Check out the video below.
You may also like to read this blog post
'Five Easy Ways to Use Math Mysteries in your Classroom.'
Still not sure if a math mystery is something you want? Try a full FREE math mystery available to download from my TPT Shop. The link will redirect you to where you can download the multi-grade bundle. It is free to register if you don't have a login with TPT.
CLICK HERE to find in my TPT store. Find more Mystery Prompts HERE Subscribe to my newsletter to find out when new mystery prompts are added to this section of my website. The newsletter will also announce any special giveaways, flash freebies, sales, free stuff, plus other marketing communications such as new blog posts and resources. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Word searches have a long history of strong opposition - and equally strong support. After hearing both lovers and haters, it made me question whether word searches are a waste of time in the classroom.
In the past, I've worked at a school where we were told that word searches weren't allowed to be used in the classroom anymore. While I agree that word searches are not an all of the time activity and that they are not a necessary tool towards academic achievement, it still made me question why the ban?
After conducting some research joined with my observations, I'd say that word search activities are not a complete waste of time, so there is no need to put a bad label on them. While it is true that word searches are not directly linked to student achievement, this type of activity does help develop a few important skills.
So, what are the benefits of Word Searches?
1. Help develop word recognition
Developing word recognition is particularly useful for emerging readers who must pay attention to the letters of a word when looking for them.
2. Boost working memory
By looking at the word on the list, the student must try and remember the letters to spell the word as they search for it. To enhance this benefit or increase the difficulty, you could remove the general list of words to find and only give students clues as to what the words are (like a crossword puzzle) -- This will require them to work from a memory bank of words instead.
3. Assist in learning context clues
There are many kinds of context clues that build fluency. Themed word searches contain semantic or meaning clues. For example, in aSummer Fun word search you'd expect to find words such as sunglasses, ice cream, vacation, beach, etc.
4. Extend vocabulary
Word searches are a useful tool to introduce new and also review vocabulary. I've used this concept to create word searches for my students to have meaningful themes for vocabulary work such as adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and nouns. In those word search packets, I extend the work to require students to look up definitions and build sentences from the words found in the word search. Another way in which I have used a word search is when starting a new topic that has a lot of new terms. For example, when starting a unit on Government, I'd create a word search with key terminology that we will be exploring and learning throughout the unit.
5. Improve spelling
Being exposed to words helps with remembering how to spell them. Plus, requiring to look for words and being able to visualize the order of the letters as a strategy, assists with remembering how to spell. So another useful way to incorporate a word search activity in the classroom would be to use the weekly spelling list in a word find. If you don't have the time to make one, give your students a blank template to make a word search using the weekly spelling list. Afterward, students can swap their made word searches with another student to complete.
6. Can be differentiated
A word search can easily be differentiated by
- increasing or decreasing the number of words to find
- the spelling difficulty of the words to find
- set a timer to challenge speed
- remove the word list and require students to find as many words as possible (based on a theme or a particular set of words).
7. Low-stress activity
I think this point is particularly important for setting as an early finisher task. It seems unfair to load more tough work onto a student because they finished early compared to their peers. If a word search is an option my students can do as an early finisher task, they look forward to it because it is a bit of a break... but, a break with still some value! Again, I wouldn't use them all of the time as an early finisher task, but there is no need to remove them from your collection of resources entirely.
So, at the end of the day, while word searches are not a MUST in the classroom, they are not something to dismiss as having no educational value either. I wouldn't recommend using them all of the time, but they still can be a handy teaching tool if used in a meaningful way.
I'm open to your thoughts on this topic too. Please feel free to comment on this post. I'd love to hear:
- Do you think word searches provide any educational value?
- How do you use word searches in your classroom?
- Or maybe, why do you think that they shouldn't be used in the classroom at all?
If you decide that you would still like to use word searches in your classroom, you can grab a few themed ones for free from my TPT store.
Be sure to grab the latest Summer Fun Word Search Freebie too.
A few of the mysteries in my Math Mystery range are structured differently by following a 5 W's Case File Format. These are particularly useful for younger students or special needs. In this post:
NEW 5 W's LOGO LABEL ON COVERS
To enable you to quickly identify if a math mystery follows this 5 W's structure, I've added a new little logo somewhere on the covers. If this is the type of math mystery structure you would prefer to use with your kids, keep an eye out for this little image below:
GRADE LEVEL GUIDES
The grade levels are marked for recommended age ranges because of the math involved within the mystery packet. Unlike the regular math mystery range, because these tend to focus on early learning skills, they can be used across K-2 depending where your students are at. For example, in the Case of the Great Zoo Escape, the packet focuses on addition and subtraction within 20. This is a skill that would be useful for both first and second graders to practice and build fluency. The packets marked for Kindergarten, contain basic numeracy skills, and would be great for the early part of first grade too. Even with the grade guides, I still recommend checking the math skills required in the product description to determine suitability for your students since no class is the same.
For some younger students, the elimination process in my regular math mystery range is a little bit too much. This is where these packets come in handy; if you still want the fun element of a mystery, but in a less stressful format for your little detectives.
Instead of the usual list of suspects/locations/scenarios, in the 5 W's series, that page is replaced with a case file with five questions to be answered - Who, Where, When, What, and Why? (see image below).
Each clue requires some math work and some ELA work to solve which of the options at the bottom need to be cut/pasted to the Case File.
âBelow is an example from the Case of The Super Bad Superhero:
As you can see in the clue example page above, there are five options at the bottom of the page. Students must complete the math activity to figure out what is the super power of the super bad superhero. Once solved, the student must cut out the super power and paste it onto their Case file page in the 'What - Clue 2' box.
Reading and explaining the instructions at the top is recommended for the early years, especially if using with Kindergarten.
Tip: Guide them through each clue to keep the whole class at the same pace.
CHECK OUT A FULL MATH MYSTERY IN THIS 5 W's FORMAT FREE!
I like to offer samples of my work to help you know whether it is something that you are interested in, or if it works for your class.
CLICK HERE to find where to download the 'Case of the Super Bad Superhero' for Kindergarten, using this 5 W's format.
If you've found the other math mystery structures too difficult for your students, then you may prefer this alternative.
Your feedback on this structure would be most appreciated. I will be making more using this 5 W structure for the early years too. If you prefer this format, keep an eye out for the little logo on the cover to know that it follows that format.
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.