Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Target Vocabulary: ace, accuse, alibi, anxiety, case, client, clues, code, crime, criminal, curiosity, deduction, detective, disappear, evidence, fear, fingerprint, gadget, guilty, investigation, location, magnifying glass, message, motive, motto, mystery, notebook, observation, private eye, problem, proof, questions, ransom, riddle, sleuth, solve, spooky, stakeout, suspect, suspense, suspicious, tactic, thief, time, tip, top-secret, twist, undercover, witness, whodunit
What is a mystery? ~ A mystery is something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain. Mysteries can be a crime, puzzle, riddle, novel/story or secret. People who solve mysteries by investigating clues are known as detectives or sleuths. They have a good sense of curiosity and strong problem-solving skills. Detectives generally carry a notebook to write down information/clues. Once, they’ve gathered all the details and asked all the questions, they begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together until they solve the mystery. A detective might work alone or have help from a partner, and they usually have a motto for their business. For example, Jigsaw Jones and his partner Mila have this motto: For a dollar a day, we make your problems go away. If you were a detective, what would you like your motto to be? Come up with one you like. To expand this lesson, you can discuss some words or gadgets associated with detective work and mysteries (case notebook, magnifying glass, disguises, binoculars, fingerprint kit, walkie-talkie, decoder key, tech gadgets, etc.)
The Five “W’s”: Who, What, When, Where, Why ~ Discuss how the five W’s are labeled (terms used) by a detective who is trying to solve a mystery and what each means. A detective uses these five W’s to make a list of key things that will help him/her find clues to solve the mystery case. It is important to ask the right questions to solve a mystery properly. The process of asking questions and finding clues is known as the investigation.
Critical Thinking Skills ~ A good detective uses strong critical thinking skills to help him/her do their job properly. Discuss what critical thinking skills are and why they are important to develop in detective work, as well as life in general.
Community Helpers ~ Detectives can be a private eye (explain this term) or someone who works within the police department. Discuss what police do as community helpers. Compare a private eye to a police officer to show similarities and differences between the two.
Difference Between Mystery and Spooky ~ Explain the difference between the two and offer examples of each.
Coded Messages ~ Sometimes a mystery includes coded messages. Discuss what codes and their key are. Ancient Greeks used hidden writing or codes they called cryptography. Romans copied that idea and added some of their own to create ciphers. To translate or reveal a code is called decipher. Some codes or ciphers are never cracked or solved. Use this Codes, Ciphers and Secret Messages template (based on a Roman cipher chart called blocked alphabet cipher) to come up with a few codes. Rebus stories are another form of reading symbols to decipher messages in a story, which can be a great exercise for this type of lesson too.