August 18, 2013

Mentor Text: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science

I'm linking up for the first time with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text Linky Party. I've been following the blog posts for this linky for several months and have finally decided to join in... with this awesome science text...

From Amazon..."Not an ordinary mystery book, One Minute Mysteries makes science fun! Each one-minute mystery (solutions included) exercises critical thinking skills while covering earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science. This entertaining and educational book is great for kids, grown-ups, schools, educators, homeschoolers and anyone who loves good mysteries, good science, or both!"

I LOVE to do read alouds with my upper elementary students, and I make sure that I read something each day in each class. I think it's a terrific way to model fluent reading for kids, and it can quickly engage students with content area material... not to mention sharpening auditory/listening skills. That's exactly what 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science does.

I was introduced to this book and its companion about Math at an inservice for Gifted and Talented students about three years ago. The presenter picked it up from his stash of books on a table and randomly opened it without telling us what the title was or what the book was about. He began reading and I was hooked!

Each mystery is a simple narrative chock-full of Science content with something amiss. At the end of the narrative is a photograph or illustration related to the content followed by the "solution."

When using this as a read aloud, my students must listen for what is out of place, amiss, or just plain in-your-face wrong with the Science presented. You can read a few of the mysteries HERE to get a feel for the book. Based on their knowledge I ask my students to solve the mystery and provide reasoning for their response. No one may simply guess; each must provide Science evidence. If they can not solve the mystery, I send them off to do research, not immediately but rather on their own time, and we proceed with the day's lesson. The next mystery is not shared with them until they solve the current one. 

Doesn't this sound a little like close reading, textual evidence, comparing texts, reading across the curriculum... common core? I think it would be great to have enough copies of this book to use with a class of students. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to sway my administration. However, 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science is available in Kindle format so I am able to project the text on my Smartboard or widescreen TV and present it to my students. We highlight evidence, underline or circle important text, and immediately head off on the internet to answer science questions they may have. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

You can imagine then how excited I was when I went in search of links for 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science on Amazon and found...TA DA!

It is already stored in my Kindle, ready to go. LOL!

Be sure you hop over to Collaboration Cuties and catch the rest of the Mentor Texts for this week!

Visit my TpT Store before August 19th 7:00AM Eastern Time and pin an item that you would like to own. Leave a blog comment HERE including the pin address and your email address. Go ahead and pin more than one item. Just be sure to include each item in its own comment. Shortly after the deadline I'll randomly draw a number. The writer of the comment matching the number drawn will WIN the ITEM pinned! There will still be time for you who don't receive their pinned choice free to still purchase it at the low, low sale price during the TpT sale!

Happy Reading,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6


  1. Thanks!

    Just bought that book, teaching Science to year 6 this year, hope it will inspire me. Great for morning starters.

  2. I think I have this book on my self and I've never opened it. (I inherited it from the previous 4th grade teacher.) I am going to have to dig it up and check it out. Thanks!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  3. Thanks for the book recommendations. I'll be teaching both 6th grade math and science, and so this will be a great way to change things up every now and then.


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