Why is the sky blue?
Why do we call them doughnuts?
Could a turtle live outside its shell?
How do you think Doug is able to answer all of these questions?
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.)
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
Step 1: Print worksheets
Each pair of students or solo student will need:
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
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:
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
Steps for uploading and sharing videos using YouTube:
Steps for tweeting videos to Mystery Science:
1. Using Screencastify
Sometimes students’ Chromebooks are blocked from installing Screencastify. If that happens at your school, here are a few ideas:
Here are some options:
Free Chrome extensions:
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:
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!
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