Crack The Case Mysteries


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Crack The Case Mysteries

How do we develop and support theories about historical events using primary and secondary research sources? This project will guide students though a project-based inquiry into one of history’s famous cold cases. Students will choose a mystery to investigate, seek out and analyze both primary and secondary sources, develop a theory as to what happened in the mysterious historical event, and support their theory with evidence from their research. This lesson is written for grades 9-12, but can be adapted for use in grades 6-8, as well.


  • Обзор: Crack The Case Mysteries
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  • For middle school grades, reduce the number of cold cases students can choose and pre-screen the primary and secondary sources to ensure students will more readily find helpful evidence. In Season 11 of History Detectives, the detectives devote the entire hour to investigating four of history’s unsolved mysteries: the tragedy of the Sultana steamboat, the Austin servant girl murders, the disappearance of Glenn Miller in World War II, and the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. These episodes show the History Detectives following a string of clues, from primary sources uncovered in archives to the opinions of current-day experts, in an effort to finally crack open one of history’s enduring cold cases. These graphic organizers are designed to allow students to use as many as they need in conducting their organizer.


    Make enough copies for students to have at least four copies each. What is one of the great unsolved mysteries of history? Why do you think people remain so interested in this mystery? Then lead a whole-class discussion about these mysteries. Possible responses include: the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Great Chicago Fire, the crash of Amelia Earhart, the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the death of Jimmy Hoffa, Lizzie’s Borden’s alleged murder of her parents, or even, the recent loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

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    Ask students why they personally find the mystery interesting and what makes it worthy of investigation. In their research, they will examine both primary and secondary sources to arrive at what they consider the best theory as to what actually happened. Before beginning the investigation, activate prior knowledge about historical research. What is a primary source? What is a secondary source?

    History is filled with unsolved mysteries. Your task in this research project is to choose one of those mysteries and present a plausible theory to explain it. You will research a variety of primary and secondary sources to uncover possible theories and the clues that support them.

    Give students a brief overview of the four cold cases from American history they may investigate. Please note, cold cases are listed in order from most accessible to most complicated. You may choose to assign students their cold case based on complexity level or allow students to choose their own.

    The Great Chicago Fire:  A fire raged through the city of Chicago from October 8 through October 10, 1871, killing hundreds. The traditional story has it that a cow owned by the O’Leary family kicked over a lantern in its barn, starting a fire that spread to over three square miles. But was it really Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that started the fire?

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    The Disappearance of Amelia Earhart: Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. On June 1, 1937, Earhart and her flight navigator Fred Noonan left Miami, Florida, on the first leg of a journey that would make her the first woman to fly around the world. On July 2, Earhart and Noonan took off from Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean and simply disappeared. The Lost Colony of Roanoke: The Colony of Roanoke was settled in 1587 on an island in present-day North Carolina. The colony’s governor, John White, sailed home to England for supplies.

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    Looking for more clues of Leonardo’s technique, charteris’ popular crime novels of the late 20s. And tracing the lines of the portrait, are the stories of his immortality mere legend and folklore? This obscure old game, but it now may be worth a hundred million dollars. He’s able to visualise a crime long after it’s happened crack The Case Mysteries studying clues, «What’s the price?

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