Solving A Murder Mystery With Formative: Pythagorean Theorem Saves the Day

By Dawn Frier (7th, 8th grade Math & Science Teacher)

Have you ever played the game Clue? Trying to solve the mystery first is a fun endeavor.  After watching a video from the Teaching Channel on introducing the Pythagorean Theorem in a more discovery based way that included solving a mystery( see Teaching Pythagorean Theorem to see how the lesson is taught), I thought I would  try to create it for my students.  I decided to combine Google Slides and Formative together.  I could present the images and garner the initial discussion using the slide deck.  Formative was perfect for the Murder Mystery portion of the day.  

Dawn's students responded to questions on Formative to get clues to solve the murder mystery!

I love Formative because it allows me to interact with the students and capture that interaction live.  They answer the questions to get the clues to the above mystery.  In this case, they have to run about the school to find each question which also adds that kinesthetic and movement piece to the class.  This first mystery earned me many “Can we do this again?” comments.

The other nice thing about Formative is that I can have the questions self mark so that I can just look for the correct ones to give the clues, then respond to the others with feedback to get them in the right direction.  

Math is not everyone’s favourite subject.  Anytime the subject can be taught in a way that gets students engaged in the topic is a good day.  This activity was my first (but turns out not to be my last) that involved solving a mystery.  I have since also created a Digital Breakout that also uses GoFormative.

The slide deck can be viewed here: Investigating Pythagorean Theorem. After David at Formative suggested embedding it into the Formative (which you can do using the Publish feature and embed code in Slides) I decided against it for now as I have the slide deck as a complete lesson and some parts of it I don’t want the students to see.  It could be adjusted if I wanted to break the slide deck up into parts and add more annotations so that it was more self-directed.  

I am still new to GoFormative but I like where it allows me to go.  I plan on expanding its use into Science too. There is no telling where we will go next!


Want to connect with Dawn and share your own fun ideas for integrating Formative in multi-sensory activities? Follow her here!