Way back before I was teaching homeschool science I was teaching public school science, and I taught the Mr Bear Mystery unit to both 2nd grade and 1st grade, and it’s always a big hit. This of course means my kids are a little old for this unit, but they still loved it.
Side note, the Mr Bear Mystery is part of the GEMS Mystery Festival, the other mystery is for older kids and I plan to do it with them soon as well. If you’re a former public school teacher you recognize any GEMS unit and instantly get excited about them. They are passed from teacher to teacher with excitement because they are great inter-disciplinary units that really engage kids.
Set-up for the Mr Bear Mystery
The Mr. Bear Mystery is designed to be done over a couple of days. I had saved all of the materials from when I was teaching, and so I carefully set out the clues just as it shows in the diagram.
Then the kids came upstairs and viewed the crime scene. I talked about how important it is to have an accurate drawing of the crime scene and write down as many clues as you can because real detectives aren’t able to keep coming back to a crime scene because people need to be able to get on with their lives.
Learning the story behind the Mr. Bear Mystery
After they’ve viewed the crime scene the next session is learning the story behind it, this is the part where detectives are interviewing the people involved. Because this is intended for younger kids it’s set up with a picture grid. For each piece of information we find out a little bit about what they are doing.
Back when I did this with my public school students I made a booklet out of the pages for the class, so I copied them for my kids, and they happily filled out the information.
I also blew up the pictures to make a giant wall-sized chart, which you see in the beginning picture of this section. This helped us to refer back to them from time to time and see what was going on.
What do kids learn from the Mr Bear Mystery?
This part of the mystery is all about deduction and observation. It’s figuring out who might have done it from the clues you find, and that’s a great skill to develop in kids. Even if they don’t decide to become detectives they will still need to solve mysteries every day. Jeff has to solve problems and figure out why something is broken, and he goes through similar steps all the time.
The Mr Bear Mystery uses all sorts of chemistry in it, if you’re interested check out my “Things That Go Boom” board for some great chemistry and physics ideas.
What we’ve been up to lately try 2
Because the computer ate try 1.
Sigh, not so verbose now:
- The kids built a fort covering the entire loft area upstairs with every single blanket and or pillow in the house.
- The kids have rediscovered the joy of building with playdough thanks to a science experiment we were doing.
- Princess playing with her new Owie Doll (which I still need to sew bandages for)
- We played Kings of Israel
- My dining room table and family room have been frequently covered with vast armies of guys. This time dominoes were drafted to serve as walls of their forst.
- Spaceman Manta Ray came for a visit
- We played Five Crowns (most of these pictures are on Instagram by the way)
- The kids “found some “lost kids” (I kid you not)
- There was lots of dressing up and play acting
The kids washed the dog, which went like this: pick up dog, drop him in the water, put a little shampoo on him, chase the dog down and start the whole thing over again. The kids loved it. The dog not so much.
The boys have pointed out they can wear my shoes. I’m not so happy. They already steal MY shirts. MY SHIRTS.
I took Batman mini-golfing and snuck a picture of us. He continues his not smiling for pictures phase that started when he was 2.
Hopefully this time the updates will stay.
Linking up over at Homegrown Learners and eventually All Things Beautiful