World History teaching resources for the high school classroom: lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes and simulation games for KS3, IGCSE, IB and A-Level teachers.
What are the "History Mysteries"?
The "History Mysteries" lessons are designed as stand-alone projects which each last 3-4 hours.
Through engaging historical topics, they teach skills of problem formulation, deductive reasoning, independent research, groupwork and structured writing.
There is a standard teacher lesson plan and student record sheet / markscheme for each activity.
Also available is a complete case study of the "Iceman Mystery", with all the resources needed to run the History Mystery with your class!
How do they work?
- Students are presented with a "starter image" and a brief roleplay - neither of which comes with any explanation.
- Based on these, the class then comes up with a series of preliminary questions for investigation (e.g. "Who is this?", "Why did they...?", "When did...?", "What is...?")
- The students are then presented with more images to help formulate fresh questions, amend existing ones or even forming provisional answers.
- This question formulation / resolution process then continues with a series of information slips shared amongst the class in groups.
- Finally, the class settles upon the most important questions to investigate and each student produces a written report which is graded against a standardised markscheme.
- Specific credit is given to students who demonstrate evidence of independent research: to this end, the teacher could construct a QR Treasure Hunt to accompany the exercise which students could complete at breaktimes. Here is an case study of a QR Treasure Hunt for the Franklin Expedition Mystery.
What's the point?
The "History Mysteries" serve a number of very useful purposes:
- They develop important skills of question formulation, deduction, reasoning skills, groupwork and structured writing.
- As "stand alone" projects they are a great way of adding variety into a scheme of work with a minimum of fuss.
- They can be used with any year group and ability range: each investigation automatically expands in scope depending on the questions and research abilities of each student.
- The allow the teacher to cover interesting topics which don't otherwise neatly "fit" into an existing scheme of work.
- They are (hopefully) good fun!
|The Iceman Murder Mystery
|The Murder of Becket
|Cats' Bottoms and the Holy Grail
|The Princes in the Tower
|The Gunpowder Plot
|The Franklin Expedition
|The Causes of the American Civil War
|The Dreadnought Hoax
|The Disappearance of Antoine de St. Exupery