We're retiring teacher-created lesson plans in September 2021. Please save copies for your records. Common Sense digital citizenship lessons are here to stay.
Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Mystery Skype

Students learn communication and geography skills through a Mystery Skype.
Sandy W.
Classroom teacher
Catalyst Charter Middle School
Ripon, United States
Show More
My Subjects English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Communicate effectively with awareness for cultural differences
  • Determine locations on a map
  • Use process of elimination to narrow answers down
Social Studies
Grades 3 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Connect to Self - 20 Questions Game

Activity: Conversing

Connect students to a Mystery Skype by playing a game of 20 questions. Model how the game is played and why the type of questions are important. Remind students that only yes and no questions can be asked. Discuss and reflect on what made better questions in solving the puzzle.

2 Digital Citizenship -

Students will need background in "netiquette" when doing a Mystery Skype.  Have students come up with a list of ideas for behavior during a Mystery Skype. Ideas may include:

  1. Keep hands to yourself during the Mystery Skype
  2. Look at the cam when speaking
  3. Speak clearly and loudly
  4. Listen to responses from the other class
  5. Be an active participant

Common Sense Education is an excellent resource to extend the lesson on digital citizenship. Digital Compass offers as interactive adventure to learn the basics in a fun and engaging way.



3 Mystery Skype Roles

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Roles are important during a Mystery Skype.  An example of roles created by Pernille Ripp can be found in her blog post here.  Create a list of roles with the class. Add the roles to a Google Form and have students request the role they would like through the survey. (A step-by-step for creating a Google Form can be found here) Use the results to assign students roles for the Mystery Skype. This will also serve as a way to keep track of students that have completed a role by highlighting their name.

4 Connecting with Classes

Activity: Other — Website

There are many resources to find another class to connect with. Several are listed below. Send an email to the teacher, asking them if they would like to do a Mystery Skype. Be sure to keep in mind the time difference when setting this up.

  1. Skype in Education
  2. 6th Grade Mystery Skype
  3. Find a Class

5 The Mystery Skype

Arrange students for the Mystery Skype. Be sure to remove any items or clothing in the room that may give away your location. 

Have students with roles ready to be begin the Skype. Students that are observing should also have devices to hand Post-It notes with questions as they are using Google Maps to research based on the answers.

Be sure to test your equipment  and Google Hangout/Skype before beginning the Skype.

Take turns with the other classroom and attempt to guess you location. Depending on the age level, will depend if you attempt to locate the exact city.

If there is time at the end of the Skype, allow questions between classrooms. This is important part of the Skype because students learn more about their global community.

6 Reflection

Activity: Conversing

The reflection piece after the Mystery Skype is an essential piece in the learning. Allow time to review how the Skype went. Ask students to evaluate the positive aspects of the Skype and what could be done differently in the next one.  What did they learn about the other classroom?  Have a student take notes on the discussion so the information can be gone over before the next Mystery Skype.