The Case of the Snack Shack

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SWBAT: use evidence from a mystery to present a claim.

Big Idea

Using a bit of backwards thinking, this lesson has the students (sleuths), use their evidence to determine who robbed the snack shack!

Guiding Question

5 minutes

I had a variety of approaches to claims and evidence in this unit. I used some nonfiction texts that either supported or debunked some common myths (turns out the crust on the bread really is better than the white part). I also thought mysteries would be a good place to engage kids, and get them to see that evidence is something either said or not said in a text or passage.

A quick Google search led me to this wonderful site. I found some cute mysteries on here, and altered them to fit my "Claims and Evidence" objectives. I have tos ay, finding mysteries appropriate enough for 6th graders was difficult. I had some "5-Minute Mysteries" on my bookshelf I was hoping to use, but they were either really gorey or too dense for my kids. The MysteryNet Kids was perfect for this!

The Guiding Question I felt was important because I wanted them to begin distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources, as I know we'll hit that in a research unit later this year. Plus, this lesson came on the heels of a lesson the previous day when we used evidence to support Bigfoot's existence.


50 minutes

Because this was the first mystery I planned to do in a series, I used the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model with my students. First, I modeled how to solve the mystery for them, by putting it on the overhead and thinking aloud for them--drawing out the claims and evidence.

In case you need the official solution, it's here.

Here's the mystery with answers and you can also get the blank mystery printable here.

For mysteries I'll give the kids in the coming days, they will work together, then will hopefully be released to work on their own. The GRR model is something I always try to keep in mind, especially with 6th graders who just naturally need a lot of scaffolding. 

Wrap Up

5 minutes

Students reflect on the lesson by using their reflection stems, which are kept taped in their notebooks.