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Uncover Global Mystery Classes
Free Online Geography, Science and Math Project
Starts January 31, 2014!

Teachers and students in grade 3-12 classrooms are invited to participate in Journey North's Mystery Class project, a global game of hide-and-seek in which students try to find ten secret classes "hiding" around the globe. The central clue is the changing amount of sunlight (photoperiod) at each site. Students first use only sunrise and sunset times, and later receive geographic, climatic, and cultural clues about each site. In the meantime, they also track day length in their hometowns, which they can report on the weekly daylight maps via the web or the Journey North moblie app. On this inspiring eleven-week journey, young geographers must use reasoning, graphing, and research skills to pinpoint exact locations of the mystery classes.

This investigation demonstrates that, as spring sweeps across the Northern Hemisphere, day length changes everywhere on Earth. Students learn that this is related to the tilt of the Earth’s axis in relation to the sunlight striking the planet. They discover that this is what drives seasonal changes, which, in turn, affect the entire web of life. Students develop a deep grasp of these important concepts because they puzzle them out in real time as the project unfolds over two and a half months.

Mystery Class is an excellent project to combine with the GEMS unit The Real Reasons for Seasons.

  • To learn more and register to participate, visit this area on the Journey North Web site: About Mystery Class

What participating teachers say about Mystery Class:

“The Mystery Class investigation is integrated problem-based learning at its best! It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to differentiate for a variety of student abilities. Kids learn how to conduct in-depth research, and they develop their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Mystery Class provides meaningful, relevant learning opportunities for kids.”
– Katie Goforth, Franklin, TN

Who would have known that longitude and latitude could be so exciting!”
– Paula Wynn, Schwenksville, PA

“Amidst all of the video games and computer games and in the day and age of bells and whistles that get students’ attention, I have found the perfect solution to that challenge: Journey North! I have students clamoring to get to my class during Mystery Class; they want to get their new clues each week. I have students who are searching for faraway lands on their own time at home instead of playing video games and watching TV. I have students who are asking for more information about their “mystery class” and even e-mailing me with their thoughts on the project.”
– Cheryl Lykowski, Temperance, MI

“Student involvement is always high. Some of my fifth and sixth grade geographers who perceive themselves to be 'less smart' were thrilled to correctly identify their mystery city, while the class brain misread his clues and missed the correct location.”
– Lynn Burkhart, Florissant, MO

“Mystery Class offered such a meaningful and exciting way to learn geography.”
– Susan Holiday, Flagstaff, AZ

“What an exceptional program. My sixth graders were totally engaged and could hardly wait for the next week’s clue. Brilliant concept.”
– Andrea Zeitz, Vancouver, BC Canada

“I had as much fun as the kids with the scavenger hunt aspect of the project. It was a painless way to learn geography, hone deductive reasoning skills, and introduce students to different research resources.”
– Marilyn Spingarn, Alamo, CA

"You can't bottle the excitement of Mystery Class," says. "You start with nothing more than a sunrise and sunset, and you end up with an exact location. When the students discover where it is, it's as if they are the first explorers there."
– Cathie Plaehn, Boyceville Wisconsin

 

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