Last week I happened to come across a Tweet in my Twitter feed that talked about ‘Mystery Number Calls’. Having done a number of Mystery Skype calls with my students my curiosity was piqued and I began to follow the conversation thread. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was just like a mystery Skype but the classes would be guessing each others numbers. I opened a sign-up document from a Tweet and promptly forgot about it until the next day when one of my students said “Mystery number call? Cool! When are we going to try it??!” A few others heard the comment and my class all got excited at the prospect of a new Skype game. That sealed the deal I just had to see if we could try this out!
I tapped into my PLN and @tegesdal agreed to do a mystery number call with us! We decided our classes each would pick 3 numbers between 0 – 99 and take turns asking questions to guess each number one at a time. I am very lucky to have a great coworker (@jennmarieco) who is always willing to try things out with me and agreed to have her third grade class join us in new our math game. After we explained the premise of the game and chose our numbers we eagerly awaited the start of our mystery number call. We had 2 students who were in front of the camera while the rest of the students listened and suggested what questions to ask. Oh what fun it was!
Some great things that I saw happen during the call:
– Having done a number of Mystery Skype calls this year our students all knew the expectations and exactly how to behave. Life is good when things work smoothly!
– Hearing the other classes questions helped our students become more strategic in what questions they asked. Is it even or odd? Is there a 9 in the tens place? Is it a multiple of 5? So many great ways to narrow down what the number is!
– It forces students to draw on their wide mathematical knowledge.
– Being asked about their number forced our students to think critically about the characteristics of our chosen numbers. It also forced them to keep track of what questions we asked and what the others class’s number could be.
– It takes team work to narrow down the number.
– Everyone was successful and we were able to guess all the numbers in the game!
– The game only took 20 mins and is a great warm up for a math class!
Some changes for next time:
– I would have students pick numbers between 0 and 10 000. (fits with the grade 4 curriculum)
– I would play the ‘low tech’ version of guess my number a few more times to practice our question asking strategies.
– I would give each student either a number line or a number chart of sorts.
– I would do small groups or pair rotations to allow everyone to get more involved.
Our experience with the mystery number call was very positive and I can’t wait to try it agin! If you are interested in connecting with us just let me know!