Lesson Title: I Can Solve It!
Curriculum Area: English Language Arts
Technology Strand: Uses technology but does not address a technology strand
Grade Level: 6
Essential Question: How do you draw conclusions based on evidence, reasons, or relevant information?
A Activity Summary The students will work in two centers and a teacher directed center to learn how to draw conclusions by solving mysteries.
C Curriculum English Language Arts
4.02 The learner will draw conclusions based on evidence, reasons, or relevant information.
T Technology Uses technology but does not address a technology strand
Activating Strategies
5 minutes
Teacher preparation before the activity-Prepare slips of paper outlining scenes to dramatize.
To activate students' prior knowledge drawing conclusions and using inference, have the group participate in a charades game, "What's going on?"

1. Distribute slips of paper to several students with situations outlined. Have these students dramatize the scenes described on the cards.

2. The other students then draw conclusions about "What's going on?"
ex. A teacher calls for homework. George can't find his paper.
ex. Students are in line, but a bully pushes to the front.
ex. Three friends are laughing and talking in a group. Mary is left out.

3. Discuss the clues developed through careful observation and the students'experiences that led the correct answers.
Technology Vocabulary:
Detailed Technology Instructions:
Cognitive Teaching Strategies
Teacher preparation before lesson:
1. Have three dots to place on clock to indicate 20 minute time limits in centers.
2. Make copies of story "The Lookout Mountain Tunnel" to place in the listening center, and record the story on a cassette tape. Set up listening station with one headphone for each student in group. (The story, worksheet and answer key are available online. See Resources for the URL)
3. Download, print and prepare the center tasks cards (filename: Conclusion_centers)and the Clues worksheets (filename: Clues.doc) from the Resources section below.
4. Place a colored dot on each card to indicate the group assignment (red, yellow, blue) Ask one student in each group to be responsible for keeping the group on task, explaining the activities if needed, and collecting any materials.

Have the students read a story from the book "Two Minute Mysteries" by Donald J. Sobol or a similar mystery story available in a textbook or trade book from media center.(See Resources) Model for the students how to use story information, evidence, and their past experiences to draw conclusions to solve the mystery. The story may be graphically displayed by drawing a map of the crime scene on the board or overhead, showing key characters and objects. Circle pertinent clues in the story. Use inquiry to get students to locate clues that will lead to the solution of the problem. Read the author's solution and discuss.

Briefly explain the center activities. The task cards for the Listening and Computer Centers should have already been placed in the center areas. Note "clock dots" for 20 minute periods and have students move to centers and begin work.

Distribute a card to each student on which to record evidence and draw conclusions. The card must be folded in half. One side of this card is used for the teacher directed center. The other side is used for the computer center.

Students will read another story from "Two Minute Mysteries." Students may graphically depict the crime scene with a map. With teacher guidance, have students list the evidence on cards that each used to draw his/her conclusion to solve the mystery. Have students present their findings to group members. Discuss. Read author's solution. Compare. Evaluate. While the Teacher Directed Lesson is in progress, the remaining students will be working in other centers to complete tasks to locate evidence and draw conclusions. Students will look for "clock dots" to know when to rotate to the next center.

This center will have a teacher-made recording of the "Lookout Mountain Tunnel" for the cassette player and directions for the group. This activity is available on line and may be photocopied for classroom use. (See Resources) Using headphones, the students will listen to the story and then complete a chart together in which they draw conclusions about what happened in the tunnel. If students finish early, they may draw pictures to illustrate the conclusions. The group leader should collect the papers.

Groups of students will go on line to solve mysteries. (See Resources) At the site, they should select the Solve-It Mystery 28. Each student should read the case, list on his/her card the clue or clues, draw conclusions, and choose a suspect. The students should then discuss in their group their choices and offer proof for the conclusions. Students should then check to see how Max solved the case. If time permits, students should solve previous Solve-It mysteries in the same manner. Select the current Solve-it Mystery. Read. List on your card the suspect and the clues you used to draw your conclusion. Discuss with group members. Check the solution. Discuss. Solve previous Solve-it Mysteries in the same way, if time permits.

After 20 minutes students will rotate to a different center.
Summary Strategies
(5 minutes)
On their cluces cards, students should answer this question:
"What is the most important thing you have learned about drawing conclusions?"
Have students share their answers. Cards should be collected before moving to the next lesson.
Click for directions on how to download files on a Windows computer. 
The Lookout Mountain Tunnel - Source: Scholastic Literacy Place
Print the story. Click on Next page to view and print the worksheet.

Solve-It Mysteries

Sobol, Donald J. "Two Minute Mysteries" Scholastic;ASIN:0590401289 (March, 1989)

Microsoft Word Files
Re-teaching and Enrichment Activities

The concept for this lesson plan was submitted by
Martha  Hopper
Allen Middle, Data last modified: 5/13/2003