Andrew Erford

Last year, I used the lesson, It’s A Mystery — White Workers Against Black Workers in two sophomore-level American History classes. Both classes had 30 students. One class was typically very engaged and easy to manage, while my other class considered of many students who failed multiple classes freshmen year and are difficult to work with. Both classes enjoyed the lesson.

We spent a class period (50 minutes) working through the lesson. I did have to help the classes quite a bit. This year, I plan to modify the lesson so that each class is split in two, with the groups each attempting to solve the mystery. Each student will have multiple clues assigned to them, but the rules remain the same. The idea of the lesson is that students are assigned a clue, but to share their clues, they have to say them out loud themselves, which forces all students to participate and listen to each other. The students struggled with this at times, but I liked it. Though messy, they were speaking and listening to each other, and they really wanted to solve the mystery.

I think I gave them potential points for following the rules, and for participation, and for solving the mystery. Overall, it’s a fun lesson and fairly easy to set up, but just requires a high level of teacher moderation and facilitation for larger classes.