Back to School Team Building Activity - Close Reading Digital Inference Mystery

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Digital Download

 This back to school digital inference mystery is a fun way to engage your students and challenge them to look for text evidence, infer information, and read more closely. This works especially well as a back to school team building activity, but it can also be used at any time of the year.

While adding more books from her personal collection to her popular classroom library, Ms. Ramirez is surprised to discover that six of her beloved books are mysteriously missing from the shelves. It's up to your students to use their close reading and inference skills to figure out who stole them!

This is a Google-compatible activity, and students complete all the work on the computer. This works well with distance learning, 1:1 classrooms, remote teaching, Google Classroom, or for online education. 

Included in this Back to School Inference Mystery: 

  • A Google Slides presentation that guides the mystery with the backstory, evidence, the answer, and detailed explanations for why each suspect is innocent and why the person is guilty of taking the letter.
  • An original narrative backstory that sets up and initiates the mystery.
  • A variety of digital clues that require students to close read and use their inference skills. There is a book drive fundraiser poster, a library late notice, a letter, an email, a book club sign-up sheet, a text message, and a teacher social media group. 
  • Two different slide options are presented. One more challenging option has two pieces of evidence per slide, and the other has one piece of evidence with a section for students to take notes along the side.
  • A final digital response slide where students can keep track of their findings that support or refute different suspects in the mystery. 
  • A detailed teacher answer key in slide format for students and within the Google Slides presentation slideshow for whole-class review. 

How to use this Back to School Team Building Activity:  

  • Decide whether you want students to work in partners, groups, or independently for this back to school inference mystery.
  • Use the Google Slides presentation to guide you through each element of the lesson. The slides will help you introduce the story and evidence to students. 
  • Share the digital file with students and allow them time to make their predictions and inferences and solve the mystery.
  •  Once students have made their final prediction, use the Google Slides presentation to reveal the culprit and go through each of the suspects to show the evidence of their innocence or guilt.

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