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How do you make Mystery Doug videos? (Grades 4-5)
Mystery 9 image
How do you make Mystery Doug videos? (Grades 4-5)
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DISCUSS:

How do you think Doug is able to answer all of these questions?

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You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

Every Mystery also includes an assessment and additional resources to extend the lesson.

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Overview
Grade K-5
Topic Current Events And Trending Topics
Focus Science Research
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this mini-lesson, students discover how and why some tree leaves change color when the weather starts to get colder. In the activity, Falling for Leaves, students make crayon rubbings of tree leaves, then take a closer look to observe the characteristics of leaves in their own neighborhood.

Preview activity

This is a three-part activity. In Part 1 of the activity, students will work in pairs to brainstorm and choose a question they would like to answer. They will research their question online using our list of suggested resources. In Part 2 of the activity, students will write their scripts and sketch a storyboard. In Part 3, students will put together digital slideshows based on their storyboards, then create their own narrated video episodes of Mystery Doug. We recommend this final part only for classes with access to laptops or tablets; if your class doesn’t have technology access, you can still complete the activity using the illustration sheets from the Grade 2-3 version!

Estimated time: 3-5 hrs (Depends largely on students’ technology experience. We recommend giving your students multiple sessions to work on their project.)

Part 1: Choosing a question and researching

Step 1: Print worksheets and gather supplies

Each student will need:

For students who get stuck when trying to come up with their own questions, we created a list of suggested questions. Let students try to come up with questions first on their own, then provide this Question Suggestions sheet only to those who need help. Print as many Question Suggestions sheets as you think you’ll need for your group.

Step 2: Make sure students have access to the internet or other resources

  • A complete list of recommended research websites is provided on the worksheet. The only two websites that require logins are ReadWorks or Epic! – if you want students to use these websites, you’ll need to register them for accounts beforehand.
  • Students may also research using books from your classroom or school library.

Part 2: Writing a Script and Storyboarding

Step 1: Print worksheets

Each pair of students or solo student will need:

Part 3: Creating a Slideshow and Recording a Video

This last part of the activity is most technology-intensive, but we have many options below.

Step 1: Choose one of these technology options and share the corresponding template with students to create their own slideshows:

Option 1 (recommended): Google Slides & Screencastify

Students need to be signed up for Google Drive accounts with Gmail addresses and a screen recording software (like Screencastify ) should be installed on their devices.

Option 2: PowerPoint or Keynote

Student devices should have PowerPoint (PC) or Keynote (Mac) software installed – these have integrated slideshow creation and video recording options.

For this option, students will need to search for images online, and we recommend the following sites (free Creative Commons images, no login required):

Other technology options: Here are a few additional options for students to create their own slideshows with narration:

  • Explain Everything: For classrooms with 1:1 iPads, Explain Everything is a great option that integrates drawing and images. It’s free for a 30-day trial, and $4.99 per student after that.
  • Educreations: For teachers looking to focus more on illustration, Educreations is a great tool for students to draw and narrate their own videos. It’s free for the basic version or $11.99 for a monthly teacher subscription for 40 students. This option works well on iPads.
  • Flipgrid: For teachers with less time available for this project, or who are looking for students to practice asking and answering questions without making slideshows, Flipgrid is a great option. The cost is $65 per educator per year, but you can start for free with just one “grid”–a place for students to post videos and responses.
  • WeVideo: For teachers looking to focus more on technology, WeVideo is a very powerful online video editor with many capabilities. It’s free for a 30-day trial, with future pricing for schools and districts based on the number of users.

Step 2 (optional): Share student videos

If you’d like to share your students’ videos with Doug and the rest of the Mystery Science team, you can upload the videos online and tweet a link to us @MysterySci. (Before you do so, make sure you have parent permission to share student work, in accordance with your district’s policies.)

Steps for sharing videos from Screencastify

  1. Find your video on Screencastify.
  2. Go to “Share” and choose either Google Drive or YouTube
  3. Choose “Unlisted” for the sharing settings.
  4. Copy a link to the video.

Steps for uploading and sharing videos using YouTube:

  1. Go to http://www.youtube.com/
  2. Click the icon on the upper right that looks like a video camera with a + sign on it
  3. Choose “Upload Video”
  4. On the drop-down menu, choose “Unlisted”
  5. Drag your video file onto the page, or click where it says “Upload Files”
  6. Once the video is uploaded, copy the link

Steps for tweeting videos to Mystery Science:

  1. Paste the link to your video on Twitter
  2. Include @MysterySci
  3. Include the hashtags #MyMystery and #StayCurious

Troubleshooting

1. Using Screencastify

Sometimes students’ Chromebooks are blocked from installing Screencastify. If that happens at your school, here are a few ideas:

  • Contact your IT administrator to see if it would be possible to change student internet permissions so students can install Screencastify. You can also try installing Screencastify on the desktop instead of as a Chrome add-on (sometimes this circumvents internet restrictions).
  • Check whether student devices can install another kind of screen-recording software.

Here are some options:

For Mac:

For Windows:

Free Chrome extensions:

Low-technology option:

Have students present their slideshows to the class and narrate in real time. (Using presenter notes is a helpful way to keep track of when to say what!)

2. Using Keynote on iPad

The Keynote app for iOS doesn't include integrated video recording like the desktop version does, but there is a simple workaround: students can record videos of their narration separately for each slide. They can follow these steps:

  • Click the "+" symbol → choose "Take Photo or Video" and set to "Video"
  • Record a video of the slide narration while covering up the video camera or putting it face down on a desk so there are no images recorded
  • Set the narration video to play automatically: click on the video and choose “Animate” → choose “Start Movie (Build in)” → go to “Options” tab → click on “After Transition”
  • Then, students can move the video into the very corner of the slide so it won't be distracting (kind of like with the Facetime ringing sound on the template) or send it behind an image to be hidden completely

The only downside is that they still won't have created video files (still .key rather than .mp4 format), but it shouldn't get in the way of them sharing with one another as a class. If you do have access to a desktop with Keynote, the slideshows could still be exported as videos there!

Overview
Grade K-5
Topic Current Events And Trending Topics
Focus Science Research