Mystery Project

2008-16Each class of 10th-grade students develops an interactive “dinner mystery” experience.  The audience for their experience is their family, friends, and others.  The audience is invited to meet one night for what appears to be a normal dinner (or probably a snack in our case), which is interrupted by a sudden event (such as the lights going out, back on, and someone has been murdered).  Following this event, the audience can choose to visit 3 of 6 rooms, each which will be hosted by the students, in order to gain clues towards solving the mystery.  Each room is focused on one of 6 main characters in the mystery story and has either an English, Math, or Chemistry theme.

Since we have three classes of 10th-graders, we have three different mysteries, each being presented one at a time on the presentation evening.  Each mystery lasts about 50 minutes.

This is a strengths-based project; students are placed into groups (English, Math, Science, History) based on their individual strengths.  At the same time, the groups have to come together as a whole to coordinate the overall mystery story and make sure it is cohesive.  One student group is also designated as the “Project Management” group, which is responsible for making sure the other groups meet deadlines, stay on task, and work together.  As an incentive, the management group is given the power to assign daily points to individuals based on their daily participation and contributions.

This project is great for community-building within the class, parent involvement, and student pride in their work.  However, it is a big project, usually taking around 4 weeks of preparation for the one-night performance event.