Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#3396. Say What? (A Murder Mystery)

Language, level: Middle
Posted Sun Feb 20 19:02:00 PST 2005 by Miss Hale (
Easley High School, Easley, SC
Materials Required: (on attached lesson plan)
Activity Time: (on attached lesson plan)
Concepts Taught: Voice Projection, Logical Thinking and Performance

Say What? (A Murder Mystery)

Objective: To continue student progress in voice projection directly related to IEP goals. The student needs to practice asking questions and speaking in a clear tone at an acceptable volume for classroom size. Allow other students to practice their performance, expression and logical thinking skills.

Verification: 7-C1.1 Demonstrate the ability to face an audience, make eye contact, use the appropriate voice level, use appropriate gestures, facial expressions, and posture when making oral presentations.
7-C1.12 Demonstrate the ability to use oral language to inform, to entertain, and to compare and contrast different viewpoints.

Materials Needed: Classroom created scenario, Character props, Teacher-created summary requirements if the expectation is for written results and slips of paper to choose the killer.

1. The students in class get to vote on who dies. (I've found on the first go-round it's usually the teacher, go figure!)
2. The students come up with a scenario of how the person died, how they were found and who found them. All this is stated before they learn who will be the killer.
3. Slips of paper are then passed around. Only one says "killer" on it. The students refold the paper and give it back to the teacher. This part is crucial for the importance of facial expression. The only person who knows who the killer is, is the student who draws the piece of paper.
4. Rules of the game are re-stated. The killer must start off spinning a story but gradually will begin to make mistakes, little by little. The student who is acting as the investigator must come up with their own questions before class the next day. Each student is responsible for their own character and their whereabouts at the time of the murder.
5. Students create props or make plans for any props that they will need to perfect their character.
6. The day of: Everyone comes in and takes a position around the room. The deceased will take their place in the room according to the rules of their death. The investigator will walk in.
7. The investigator must speak clearly and ask precise questions that involve only "yes" or "no" answers for beginning levels, more advanced can be scenario questions. The students play it out until the investigator runs out of questions or until they figure out who the killer was.
8. If the investigator gets stuck the teacher may then step in and help with questions, even if they are presently the deceased on the floor.
9. Students must then provide a summary of what they learned about voice projection based on their classmates response, how well they stayed in character and what were the good things they saw and what needed improvement.

Expected Time to Complete Lesson: 15 minutes for the first day, 30-45 minutes for the
student performance to run its course.