The units in Mystery Science can be used as an entire science curriculum or as a supplement to what you're already teaching. The lessons will work best when students have opportunities to talk with each other about their ideas. During the explorations, pause to give kids a chance to hypothesize before the answers pop up on the screen. For example, when a video asks what will happen if we water one plant and don’t water another, have kids stop and jot down their ideas before sharing their thoughts with the class.Continue reading Show less
Mystery Science features multimedia science units for K-5. Each lesson starts by posing a question commonly asked by kids, like “Do plants eat dirt?” A series of short videos and prompts then guides a class discussion, followed by an experiment that can be done as a class. Mystery Science encourages teacher collaboration with the capability to pin, tweet, or share units using various social media platforms.Continue reading Show less
Mystery Science isn't just a random collection of fascinating science facts; each example is tightly connected to the guiding questions and big ideas for the unit. The narrator of the videos is upbeat and makes kids giggle, especially when he acts surprised right along with them. At times, the videos can seem to lead kids a bit too much, or be a bit didactic, as the narrator sometimes makes observations for the kids. In one clip he says, “It seems like water kind of wakes up the seed and makes it start growing.” Kids could benefit by pausing the video and sharing out their own ideas.
On the whole, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to reflect, puzzling over commonly asked questions. Be prepared for kids to be amazed, grossed out, and fascinated as they watch remarkable video clips, including one where a mouse is eaten by a plant. One of Mystery Science’s biggest strengths is that it incorporates classroom experiments along with guided video explanations. Together, these two facets of the program do a great job addressing kids' questions and curiosities about the natural world. Students engage in science authentically, building on the ideas they develop in each unit. Videos walk classes through each experiment with examples, materials lists, and downloadable worksheets. Mystery Science has yet to complete all of its curriculum, with future units outlined on the site. When complete, Mystery Science should be well poised to become a staple in many elementary school classrooms.Continue reading Show less
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.
Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets.