Sensational Sixes

Where In The World? It’s a Mystery!

Last week the Grade 6 Eagles participated in their first-ever Mystery Skype with a class in Argentina. What fun they had!

After a recent Mystery Skype connection fell through, I sent out an appeal over Twitter, looking for a class to Mystery Skype with and it wasn’t long when I received a response from a teacher in Argentina, Laura Bargas. Laura regularly does Mystery Skype calls with her class, so they are old hats at it. They were very keen to connect with us. We set up the call for the following Monday afternoon, taking into account the five-hour time difference.

A Mystery Skype works like this: Only the teachers know where in the world the other class is. The students have to, via a series of clever questions, find out exactly where in the world you are. These questions may only be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions and have to be cleverly thought out to get the most revealing information from the other class. All members of the class are involved. The class is divided into smaller groups and each group plays a different role. We had  Greeters  who said hello and told something about the class without giving away our location, Inquirers/Answerers who asked the questions and provided answers, Question Keepers who kept track of the questions and answers, Mappers who used maps, an atlas, Google Maps, etc. to hone in on the clues, a Digital Photographer who captured the call with an iPad, Logical Reasoners who used the clues to eliminate countries or cities that did not match the given clues and Runners who ran between the Inquirers and Logical Reasoners getting the answers and delivering them to the Answerers. It sounds complicated, but it worked like a well-oiled machine as Mrs Copeland had prepared them well for their roles. This is important for a Mystery Skype to be successful.

Both teams asked good questions and it took only fifteen minutes for each class to discover the correct location of the other class – they we in Buenos Aires, Argentina! We then spent the next fifteen minutes sharing information about our cities, our schools and the climate – it was 8 degrees Celsius in Buenos Aires and about 15 degrees Celsius in Cape Town.

This was a great learning experience for everyone. Our students loved it and are keen to repeat the experience. We are on the look out for more Mystery Skype partners around the globe for the other three classes, for August.

Here are some photos taken during the Skype call:

Posted by Karen Stadler


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Time for another exciting Grade 6 ILT

Next week sees the Elkanah House Grade 6 pupils involved in their termly ILT (Integrated Learning Task). The ILTs provide opportunity for three days of complete focus on the particular task at hand. All regular schooling comes to a halt as the pupils engage in the process of the challenge set by the teachers.

Pupils are encouraged to lead their own learning and take full responsibility as their teachers pull back on their usual involvement.

One of the highlights of last year’s ILTs (see 2013 pictures below) saw the pupils involved in the running of class elections. The process ran in a similar way to the process followed nationally in South Africa.

Watch this space for the 2014 version…


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Our Delicious Earth

We have just recently wrapped up our first Mapwork section in Social Sciences. Within this section we looked at many different aspects, from Atlas Skills to Exploration to Map Projections. The children learned that there are three common map projections. We then did an activity to demonstrate with an orange, a permanent marker and a scalpel, how the Earth changes from a spherical globe to a 2-dimensional map.














This was a great example of learning through doing and showed that, as is the norm at Elkanah House, learning is fun!

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