Mystery helps Edmond Central Middle School students learn
EDMOND — Problem-solving and deductive reasoning demand more attention than ever in industry, commerce, science and even the arts. The same rings true at Edmond's Central Middle School.
Evidence of these 21st-century skills at work echoed through the halls recently when students challenged themselves to employ these competencies in a daylong series of events involving applications in all curriculum, according to a news release.
Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel "And Then There Were None" provided the springboard for the student foray into the realm of the unknown. The mystery, however, did not stop there.
The fiction examination expanded into a full day of “STREAM” activities. STREAM is an acronym that builds on the more commonly known STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by adding reading and arts.
“At Central, we're committed to creating learners and problem solvers, and we see STREAM as a way to engage all types of learners," said eighth-grade teacher Kate Gallagher, who organized many of the day's events.
"This was a great event to show our students that the critical thinking we use in class has a solid connection to real-world problem-solving.”
In science, students performed a CSI-type lab, aimed at detecting poisons. In history, students delved into the mysterious death of Meriweather Lewis. Math students solved equations and riddles to determine the final answer to the question “Whodunit?”
Eighth-grader Thomas Hoang said, “Today changed a lot. People say all the time that they won't use what we do in school. Today showed we'll be using what we learn someday in college and our jobs.”
“I want to work in the medical field. And in my job I may need to diagnose someone, and that requires deductive reasoning, just like we used during Murder Mystery Day,” eighth-grader Gracie Price said.
A murder mystery theater presentation capped off the daylong event. A cast of students and faculty acted out a play that challenged teams in the audience to determine the identity or identities of the culprits.
Eighth grader Haley Clark, who played the culprit in the play, said, “In school, we can incorporate the arts into science and math and make the experience more fun. Not all students are instantly into science and math, but by including the arts, everyone can get involved.”
Central Middle School leaders hope to continue interdisciplinary teaching and learning, to help prepare students for a changing world.
“I am thrilled to work at Central, where we take chances and try new things to keep kids engaged and thinking," school librarian Caradith Craven said.
"Our students had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Murder Mystery Day events.”