Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mystery Number Skype

We have used Skype in our classroom throughout the year, but recently we've been doing something new and exciting called Mystery Number Skype. After attending Kathy Cassidy's presentation at Awakening Possibilities last month, Mrs. Caldwell and I were excited to try out this new learning activity with our students.  We also tried this activity with Miss Turner's K/1 class in Treherne today!

How We Do Mystery Number Skype:
  •  Each class chooses a mystery number.  Teachers and students can decide on a range such as 1-100.  
  • Classes connect via video call on Skype. One class goes first, and asks the other class yes/no questions to narrow down what the mystery number could be. 
    • Some great questions are being asked in our classes right now:
      • Is it higher than __?
      • Is it lower than __?
      • Is it between __ and __?
      • Is it in the thirties? forties? etc. 
      • Is it even/odd? 
      • Does it end with ....?
      • Does it start with...?
  • Once the first class guesses the number correctly, the other class takes their turn.
Helpful Tools
We have been using the interactive hundred chart in SMART Notebook to keep track of the numbers we eliminate. As it is narrowed down, students "erase" the numbers on the board.  If you don't have access to the interactive hundred chart, a copy of the 100 chart to cross off guesses could be shared by the class or used individually by each student. We also use our Front Row audio system microphone to pass around, which helps to amplify student voices so they are more easily heard during the conference call. 

A friendly competition...
To make Mystery Number Skype into a bit of a competition/game, our classes have competed to see who could solve the mystery number in the fewest number of questions . Students kept a tally of guesses and so far the OLCS Kindergartens have asked fewer questions than us, so we are working hard to ask really smart questions in hopes of winning next time!  It's a fun and motivating element that encourages us to eliminate the most numbers we can with each of our questions.

Important Learning
Mystery Skype has led to much learning.  We've discussed decade numbers and learned about even and odd.  Students have the opportunity to think about numbers and formulate good questions.  I'm very excited to see the math learning that is going on during these calls!

Mrs. Caldwell has shared a great post about her perspective on Mystery Number Skype too - check it out!

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