Detective Academy: Mystery Solvers

13 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use context clues within the text to predict the outcome of a mystery.

Big Idea

Students will become detectives and learn how to use clues to solve mysteries.


Lesson Opener

15 minutes

Welcome to Detective Academy!!! 

We will be using the Mini Mysteries series (Books 1, 2, and 3) for this lesson.

To begin this lesson, I will put on a trench coat, hat, and sport a magnifying glass.  

I will  have a "Detective Handbook"  (See resources for printout) and a magnifying glass laying out on their desks as the students come in.  (See the "Materials" section for information on materials in the folders.)  On the board I will write "Welcome to Detective Academy."

In my best detective accent, I will welcome all of the students to the detective academy and explain that we have cases to solve and I need their help.  I am recruiting them to the Detective Academy.  We will then discuss what a mystery is.

I will introduce the "Mystery" genre and walk through the "Detective Academy Handbook" with the students.  I will then have them come to the carpet where we will tackle a mini mystery together using the "Detective Academy Handbook" which I will project using the document camera.  We will walk through all six steps of "Finding and Solving Cases" and use the other graphic organizers in the handbook to organize our thoughts.  We will then come up with a theory on how to solve the case as a class and test our theory by reading the solution in the mini mysteries book.

Mini Mysteries series (Books 1, 2, and 3) 

Walton, R. (2004). Mini Mysteries. Middleton, WI : Pleasant Company Publications.

Walton, R. (2006). Mini Mysteries 2. Middleton, WI : American Girl Publishing, Inc.

Walton, R. (2007). Mini Mysteries 3. Middleton, WI : American Girl Publishing, Inc.



30 minutes

Detectives in training now get to work on their first case!  I will have the students will work in small groups.  Together they will read through their mini mystery found in their case folder. They will work through the detective Academy handbook finding clues within the text to help them solve the mystery.  Together they will generate a theory on how to solve the mystery.  Once they have a theory on solving their mystery, they will be allowed to look in the mini mystery book to check to see if their theory is correct.

Lesson Closer

15 minutes

This activity is a chance for the Detectives in Training to share with their fellow detectives what they learned today.

Students will give a brief summary of their case to the class. Next, they will give a summary of their theory on how to solve the case. Finally, they will tell their classmates whether or not they were wrong and what the correct solution was to the case.