being a teacher, inspiration, Social studies

The Mystery Box

Today, I was mean to my kids.  I taped a 10 foot by 8 foot square off on the carpet before they came to school and then I said nothing.  Just watched them as they drew their own conclusions as to why this mysterious box was taped.  I had not thought much of the placement of my box, just needed one, and so it was by chance it was by our fabulously exciting crayfish.  The kids latched onto this coincidence as if it was the missing piece to the puzzle.  “It is to keep us away from the crayfish,” offered one.  “Or for us to know where to stand?”  Or my favorite, “We are going to have a crayfish race!”  This one took on a life of its own as the kids then discussed how that would be possible since our crayfish can only be out of water for about a minute.  Some offered solutions and others shot it down, but all through the day, the mystery deepened.  During literacy, when I introduced our new author study project, we happened to sit in part of the box.  “It is for us to sit in!” the kids exclaimed.  I shook my head and smiled.  I finally told the kids that maybe I did it just to drive them crazy, one student told me I wouldn’t be that mean.

Finally, at the end of the day after I had been asked more than thirty times what the box was for, the big reveal came.  P.E. was done, the students were fidgety and I waited for absolute silence.  Then the Native American simulation script started and the lightbulbs went off.  “It is for the settlers, it is for the settlers,” was the excited murmur running around the room.  Mystery solved…

Incredible what some masking tape on the floor can do for an otherwise fidgety Monday morning.

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