Mystery Science

The main aim of the lessons was to motivate students to learn science by investigating mystery in Science in movies, literature and life. The idea was to set numerous interesting activities where students have to do research, use Internet and different online tools working in teams, sharing ideas, developing interest and attitudes towards science, making investigation and experimental researches, stimulating creative activity, gaining new experiences, in order to find that mysteries in movies, literature and life can be explained by science and how these can be integrated in different subjects.

Project-based Learning: students got tasks, problems to solve and they worked in teams. Students developed an inquiry-based learning projects. They had the opportunity to work with their friends in teams which improved their social  skills, increased their creativity, built and encouraged their problem solving skills in a fun way, supported related role modelling, career aspirations and etc.

Learning objectives 
• Students gained a basic insight into different biological, physical and chemistry topics and improved their experimental skills
• Improving ICT skills
• Increasing students’ motivation towards STEM learning by using the acquired knowledge at the STEM lessons for the realization of the personal research
• Applied mystery science into daily life.

The lessons were based on:
• Collaboration with teachers from other schools and subjects
• Increasing students’ motivation and attitudes towards STEM through students’ own researches.
•  Stimulation of investigation and observation
• Stimulating team working
• Students’ curiosity to present their concepts experimentally
Students will improve the following 21st-century skills:
• Experimental Skills
• Learning Skills
• 4C -Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Collaboration,Communication
• Students required to carry out presentations in the classroom (self-assessment; peer-assessment; assessment by the teacher)
• Formative evaluation in addition to summative evaluation (assessment by teacher)
• Assessment of team work

Tools and Resources 
Computers, Padlet, PowerPoint, Quizzes
Learning Space
School classroom, outdoors, online space

Details of the lessons – 2 days

Part I – 1 day -22.04.2019

Students watched video with science fiction/mystery/ forensic/criminal films, TV series and read some parts of a book (Matrix, C.S.I ,
The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle )

After that, together with the teacher they discussed:

  • are they real or science fiction
  • how all these scientific facts seen in the video/chapter can be explained
  • how can we prove experimentally that they are real and etc.

Students had to use their knowledge learned until now, if they couldn’t explain them, try to find information in Internet.

I emphasised on a scene from C.S.I TV serial where one of the prove for a criminal is a letter which half of the words are missing. Some of the data disappeared because the report has been on a hot place ( in front of a fire place. I handed out greeting cards (for Easter) in which half of the text is missing after that asked students to try to make the ink reappear. They suggested and try their own ways of making the ink reappear. After their answers we summarized that the ink was made of a thermochromic pigment, which was sensitive to temperature changes. As the ink was exposed to high temperatures, it changed from coloured to colourless. This property was exploited to make erasable ink: when ink was applied on paper rubbed with a special plastic (on the cap of the pen), the heat caused by the friction made the ink disappear. However, this is a reversible reaction and the colour can be made to reappear upon cooling. The students made experiments to prove the explanation.

Students designed their own inquiry-based experiments based on their knowledge of thermodynamics, energy and Le Chatellier’s principle to explore the thermochromic properties of the ink.

For the other lesson I divided them into teams and gave them to:

  • Find other films or books with scientific/science/ forensic/criminal elements
  • Make a list of the sciences or scientific areas that being shown/represented or used in the film/book.
  • Look for articles on the internet and try to find out whether these science facts are real
  • Make an investigation and try to explain scientifically them
  • If applicable make an experiment to prove the fact

Part II – 2 day – 25.04.2019

Every team showed their work and materials which they found.

I facilitated a debate between groups. The final objective was demystification of the idea that science had a big importance in all aspects of our lives and industry.

Through these lessons I want to increase the attractiveness of the research and other types of professions related to STEM to my students. Such lessons would make a significant contribution to the training of more skilled workers who are capable of coping with new technological changes and challenges to Europe related to these changes. Pupils are particularly interested in topics related to forensic science and mysteries





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About veselatodorova

Vesela Todorova is Science, Chemistry and English teacher. She is senior expert of science education in Regional Department of Education - Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. The organisation is under Ministry of Education. She is writing a PhD on motivation of learning science at school in Sofia University. Scientix ambassador in Bulgaria, a teacher trainer for Chemistry and Science and an Erasmus plus projects coordinator.