Mystery Clue Game for second grade Social Studies. Susan Wilson. 1. Important Background Information:

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1 III. Mystery Clue Game for second grade Social Studies Susan Wilson 1. Important Background Information: Activity Title: Mystery Clue Game for Barter and Money Economies Bibliography: Mitgutsch, A. (1985). From Gold to Money. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, Inc. About the book: This book is one of a series of Start to Finish Books published by this company. There are many sequential concepts addressed in these books. This book describes how people gradually switched from the barter system to trading goods for pieces of gold, which eventually became regulated coins. Since I doubt I would ever have enough copies of the book for each of my students to use one, copies of the text can be made after obtaining permission from the publisher. The book is short enough that with some reductions in size, it would only require a couple of copied pages for each student. Also, when I applied the FRY Readability formula to this book, it came out to be on a third grade level. I was a little surprised by this, since it does not seem that difficult to me. Many of the words containing more than two syllables are easily identified by most second graders, such as everyone and animals. Thus, I believe that with my assistance activity, the class this is designed for will be successful in understanding the material. 2. Audience: This assistance activity is designed for a class of 23 second grade students. The students attend a suburban school and most come from a low socioeconomic environment. Of the 23 students, 6 are African American, 4 are Latino, 1 is Asian, and the rest are Caucasian. The reading levels of the students range from first to fourth grade, with just over half of the students reading on grade level. Six of the students are considered at-risk readers; the remaining students are reading above grade level. One of the students has an Individualized Educational Plan due to a speech and language delay. Three of the students are classified as ESL. Two of the ESL students communicate in Spanish at home; they have been in the United States all of their lives. The other ESL student is a Hmong child, who came to this country from Laos three years ago. The students are quick and eager to participate. They have been interested in the themes we have studied throughout the year. All of the students are becoming more independent with their reading and writing as the school year progresses. 3. Purpose: The purpose of this group mystery game is to assist the students in comprehending a reading material that describes how people gradually switched from barter economies to our present day money economies. The activity is designed to foster student understanding of the sequential organization of the material. 4. Objectives: Students will be able to state what they think the sequence of events in a reading selection will be. Students will be able to read the selection with the purpose of verifying the accuracy of their predictions. Students will be able to orally compare and contrast barter and money economies. Students will be able to define a barter economy. 5. Activity: The assistance activity used in this lesson is a group mystery clue game. The intent of this activity is to involve the students in actively thinking about their reading. Playing the game before the reading and

2 predicting the sequence of events will personally invest the students in the material, as they will then read to find out if their predicted sequences are correct. Students will have an opportunity to engage in oral discussions of the clues and to work with other group members in a cooperative environment before reading. This will foster their oral language development as well as their reading comprehension. A copy of the activity is attached to this lesson plan. It is written in chronological order. When using it with students, the individual clues would need to be separated and distributed to the students in a random order. (There is no student example because it is simply strips of paper with the same clues that the child manipulated.) Before playing the game, the students will participate in a factstorming activity. The teacher will ask the students to tell the class anything they think they know about the history of money. As the students share their thoughts, the teacher will record them on a chart. Listening to other students ideas and participating in the discussion will help the students build their own background knowledge of the concept even before they play the mystery clue game. The factstorming activity will occur the day before the playing of the game and the reading of the text. When constructing the mystery clue game for the book, From Gold to Money, I first read the book. Then I went back over the contents of the book and wrote down the sequence of events that occurred as people went from hunting, to bartering, to trading for gold, and finally to using modern day currency. I found that there were many details associated with each step in the sequence. I decided that focusing on the actual occurrences rather than the associated details would be important for developing the clue cards. Some of the details help to illuminate the need for a step in the sequence, so some are included. However, the students would be playing the game as a sequencing activity, and I did not want to confuse them by including too much information on the cards! Initially clue number 7 was Gold coins were made and marked with their weight so everyone knew how much they were worth. I changed the wording to simply Gold coins were made. The deletion of the information about the weight of the coins was appropriate because the actual step of the sequence was that coins were made. The details about their weight and their worth will be brought up in the post-reading discussion, but they do not really pertain to the sequence of actual events. As I wrote the clues that would be used on the cards, I included at least one key word from the previous clue when constructing a clue. I thought this would help the students to connect the clues as they looked for related words. For example, originally clue number 6 read, People started to trade gold for goods. People liked to trade for gold because it was beautiful and hard to find. I changed it to read, People started to trade gold for goods. Everybody wanted to trade for gold because it was beautiful and hard to find. I altered this because the clue preceding it reads, What would someone do if nobody wanted to trade with him? The words everybody wanted on clue number 6 are directly related to the words nobody wanted on number 5; they even answer the question! I also used a couple of questions as clues to guide the students sequential thinking. The next clue would have to answer the question. I was aware of these issues because this will be the first time the students have played this game in a small group, and they are still in the beginning stages of learning how to read to learn. I want to provide for as much opportunity for success as possible! After the students engage in playing the group mystery clue game and read the related material, they will participate in a whole class discussion in which they identify the proper sequencing of events and decide if what they had previously thought they knew about the history of money is correct. The teacher will be sure the class describes a barter economy and reflects about how a barter economy is different from and also similar to the money economy we use today. This post-reading activity will then entail the students being asked to explain a barter economy in their reaction journals. Students will be able to write definitions, make illustrations, create graphics, or use any combination of them to explain what a barter economy is. The end of this post-reading activity will occur on the day after the class plays the game and reads the material. 6. Procedure: For the group mystery clue game and the reading of the text, with references to post-reading: The teacher will refer to the chart previously completed and ask the children what they have already discussed about money. The students will briefly review what they think they know about the history of money. The teacher should reiterate that the students are talking about what they

3 think they know. However, this does not need to be consistently emphasized, as we want the students to express themselves and know that what they have to contribute is important. The teacher will divide the class into small groups. (The groups can be the same as the table groups the students sit in.) The teacher will announce to the class that they will be playing a game that requires them to be detectives called the mystery clue game. The teacher will let the students know that they have played this game as a whole class before and now they will play it in small groups. It will be explained that each group will be given clue cards. The students will also be told that the cards have statements on them that recount the history of money, but that the statements are out of order. The teacher will tell the students that it is their group s job to try to arrange the statements in the order in which they occurred over time. The students will be told that some of the cards have questions on them which do not tell a fact but will help them to get their cards in order. The teacher will explain the rules of the game: Every member of the group will receive at least two cards; each member of the group is responsible for his or her own cards; every member should read his or her own cards silently; the members of the group will take turns reading their cards aloud, so that all the members will know what the statements are; the teacher will tell them what the first card of the sequence is; each member has to decide if their card could come next in the sequence; the group decides if a chosen card seems appropriate; when all the clue cards are arranged, the group reads over the cards in their final order to make sure they agree that this is the order they think makes sense. The teacher will inform the students that they will have 15 minutes to read the cards and to decide what order to place their cards in. They will also need to be told to select one member of the group to report the group s solution to the class. The teacher will distribute the sets of cards to the students. There is one complete set of cards for each group. The teacher will make sure each group knows which card is the first one in the series. The teacher will make sure each person in the group receives at least two cards. The groups will use the clue cards to try to put the cards in chronological order. The teacher will set the timer so the students will know when their time is finished. After the designated time one member of each group will present the group s solution to the class. The students will be instructed to read the material to find out which group came closest to finding the correct order of events. The students will be told to think back to the clues they used in order to make meaning of the selection as they read. After reading the selection the teacher and the students will discuss what the students have found out about the history of money. They will refer to the chart they created before the game and decide which things are true. The teacher will guide the students in a discussion about the sequence of the clue cards, and the class will identify the proper order of the cards. The teacher will be sure to point out what a barter economy is incorporating student input. The class will also decide which group s answers were the closest to the actual occurrence of events. * The teacher will inquire about how the barter economy is different from the money economy. The students will discuss this. *The students will be asked to describe a barter economy in their reaction journals. The students will be instructed to use pictures, charts, captions, words, and/or sentences to explain what a barter economy is. *The last two steps of this activity will more than likely occur during the next school day. If this is the case, explain to the students that they will continue the lesson the next school day. 7. Evaluation: This assistance activity has been constructed for a second grade class. As I am not teaching this year, the class I described is similar to one I taught previously. The decision to make my audience one that includes several at-risk readers is due to the fact I will quite likely be working with at-risk readers again in the future. I wanted to incorporate what I have been learning about providing successful reading experiences for all students, including struggling readers and students acquiring English. The nature of many members of this class suggests that some of these students have not had many literacy experiences

4 outside of school, as a teacher might like, so it is part of my responsibility to provide exposure to meaningful literacy experiences that enable my students to succeed in the learning environment. One thing I included in the mystery clue game was letting the students know what the first card in the sequence was. Providing the first clue will make certain that the students begin the activity properly. Also the revision of the words described in the Activity section of this lesson plan was done to assist the struggling readers and the language learners specifically. I know that poor readers often do not monitor their own reading comprehension, providing such extra clues will help them to stay focused. Having the students work in small cooperative groups fosters their oral language development, which specifically meets second grade SOLs. The students acquiring English are provided with a comfortable atmosphere in which to express themselves, and they can also benefit from hearing proficient English speakers use of the language. The very nature of the mystery clue game supports the needs of my students. It provides the students with a personal meaning for reading and stresses instructional language. The sequential aspect of the game establishes a type of prewritten predictable text to help the students understand the reading material. Also factstorming with the whole class first will help the students to build necessary background before reading, clarify concepts, and expose the students to the vocabulary that other students have. Factstorming about what the students think they know will let them know it is all right if they are not certain about an idea; it can be clarified with the reading. Allowing the students to create whatever illustration or text to describe a barter economy they find most meaningful would provide for individual differences while still letting the students accurately explain that they know what one is. Finally, for this class, I believe it is crucial to play this game in a whole group environment with teacher guidance before having the students play this in small groups. This will ensure student understanding of sequencing and build the background skills necessary to play the game. I would make sure to play a whole group game with a story or some other material before using the cooperative groups for this book. Although this activity was designed for a class of students, I wanted to try it out. I was able to ask a friend s daughter if she would like to play the mystery clue game. She is in first grade and reads well. Her mother says she reads above grade level (naturally!), but I have administered no type of reading assessment or in no way have I spent enough time reading with her to know myself. Having taught first grade in the past, I do know that she is a very good reader. Obviously her participating in the activity was incredibly different than an entire class, particularly one with struggling readers. There was no intense factstorming, group playing of the game, or follow up activity. The child simply put the cards in whatever order that made sense to her and read to check her accuracy. Getting the first four cards in order was no problem for her. She was confused when deciding between the fifth and sixth card, so I would change the fifth card to say What would someone do if nobody wanted to trade goods with him? Adding the word goods might clarify this. She took longer to complete the rest of this. She did comment that she knew the card with machines would come towards the end of the sequence, because they did not have them in the old days. She almost had all of the cards in their proper order before reading. Of course my purpose in constructing this activity for a class is to assist the students with their reading, not to make sure they can get the cards in order prior to reading! I cannot lose sight of that. (Watching the one child so closely made that seem like more of a priority, probably because she wanted to be right. ) After reading, she was able to move the clue cards around according to their correct sequence. When I asked her, she said that playing the game first helped her to read the text. I did notice that it took her about 15 minutes to read the book. That is a lot of time for such young students to read in one stretch. I think when using this with a whole class, the reading of the selection might have to be divided into sections. The small groups could play the mystery clue game in shifts, using the first seven cards before reading the first half of the book, and using the remainder of the cards before reading the second half of the book. Teacher discretion would be needed to decide if the reading could be completed in one day or should span over two days, although I do think it would be completely appropriate to spend longer than the allotted time limit on Social Studies for this lesson, because it is also a Reading strategies lesson. Of course, this girl is in first grade and has never participated in such an activity, so perhaps the second grade class would be quicker. Given this child s success and the provisions already mentioned to help the students attainment of comprehending the material, I think this activity would be successful and the objectives would be met. This would include the objectives for the activity as well as the economics, language, and reading objectives from the SOLs. From the reading the students would learn about the some of the ways producers and consumers have interacted in the past and in the present. They would have the foundation for understanding that producers have used natural, human, and capital resources throughout the past and present. The reading would directly address distinguishing between money and barter economies. The

5 reading SOLs explain that to the extent feasible, second graders will use non-fiction materials that relate to all areas of learning. I am constantly looking for non-fiction materials to address all the primary grades content areas of learning. I believe it is critically important for primary teachers to incorporate reading to learn in the content areas. By using the mystery clue game, my class would have a successful experience of reading to learn in the social studies area of economics. The activity objectives pertaining to predicting the sequence of events and reading to check the accuracy of predictions would all be accomplished in the activity described. The students would also have the opportunities to compare the two specified types of economies and to define a barter economy in a way that is appropriate for them. In the future when I am teaching again I will definitely use this type of activity. I hope that if using this particular activity is not appropriate for my students that I will be able to give it to someone to use! Analyzing the individual steps in the sequence as I prepared the cards was really interesting to me. There are so many facets of constructing the activity that I would never have thought of if I had not actually prepared one. In the future if I do an economics activity that involved markets and coin and/or paper currency, I would bring in some currency from other countries, pictures of foreign markets, and invite the students to as well. I liked that the author of this book did not describe dollars but rather paper money. This will show all students that all cultures and their currencies are valuable. The author, Mr. Mitgutsch, is German and his books have been published in several countries, perhaps because there is this inclusive quality in them. Mystery Clue Game Activity Clues Long ago people lived by collecting fruits and hunting animals. If a hunter was hurt, he could not hunt anymore. How could the hurt hunter get food? He could make tools and trade them for food. This kind of trading is called bartering. What would someone do if nobody wanted to trade with him? People started to trade gold for goods. Everybody wanted to trade for gold because it was beautiful and hard to find. Gold coins were made.

6 Machines were made to make the coins. This is called minting. As time went on, gold was not used to make coins. Metals harder than gold were used to make coins. Finally, people decided that a lot of coins were heavy to carry around. Paper money was invented.

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