WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
You, the reader, show up for your first day working for Jonathan Pierce,
city councilman... only to discover protesters dressed as frogs sitting
in his outer office! You need to help the Councilman learn the truth about
the declining frog population in the city's Slow Water Park.
You do this by interviewing various people
around town, investigating leads regarding pollution, predation, poaching,
Besides the usual Science Mystery themes (literacy, inquiry-based learning,
problem-solving logic, inductive and deductive reasoning), "Croak"
puts your students hands-on with facts about ecosystems and ecological
balance, water pollution, natural and exotic invaders and predators, and
more. They learn how to read graphs and evaluate data as part of the mystery.
The "Croak" science mystery has four parts. In the Introduction, you meet
the characters and enter the story. In the Investigation, you interview
people in the town and investigate the facts. In the Report to Pierce,
you submit your solution to the case and then may investigate links for
further research into the story themes.
The fourth part, the Solution, is revealed one week later.
Each respondent will receive an email from Access Excellence explaining
the mystery's answer. (We delay the email a week so that teachers can
use the mystery as a test.)
It takes an average reader about 30 minutes to get to the "solve-it" page,
and 10 minutes or less to choose their solution to the mystery. It takes
an average reader about 10 minutes to read the email solution, which arrives
one week later.
We protect the confidentiality of email addresses. They
are not used for any reason other than to send the solution. Parents or
teachers with concerns may use their own email addresses, and forward
the solution to students.
SOLVING THE MYSTERY
Teachers can assist students in mastering the problem-solving skills necessary
to solve a science mystery. Some basic techniques:
- You should have a pen and notebook
at your side, to take notes as you go through the story.
- You should organize and label your
notes as you go, under broad categories such as "Possible Causes," "What
the Graph Says," "Predators" and so on.
- Evaluate your information. Is this
a fact or an opinion?
- Be observant! The mystery contains
IS IT TRUE SCIENCE?
The narrative itself is fictional, but the scenario is based on actual
events and contemporary science research and discoveries.
HOW DO TEACHERS
USE THIS MYSTERY?
Science mysteries such as "Croak" integrate science learning within an
exciting narrative. They have wide appeal and are thus well-suited to
be a class activity.
Typically a teacher will have students
read and discuss the mystery during a class period. Some teachers solve
the mystery as a class; others allow students to solve the mystery and
do continuing research on their own.
Many teachers use the science mysteries
to engage advanced students, especially those who may normally shun science.
To read teacher comments about the
science mysteries, visit www.sciencemystery.com.
To see the other science mysteries
available at Access Excellence, visit the Mystery Spot: www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot
We appreciate your feedback.
species Rana viridiana is fictitious. It is modeled on Rana
aurora, the red-legged frog. Rana aurora was once found throughout
California; it's the frog Mark Twain immortalized in his story "The
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Rana aurora
is now in decline over much of its range, possibly due to habitat fragmentation
and competitive pressure from an invasive species, the Eastern bullfrog.
reasons, we simplified the mystery puzzle, and compressed the time
line. In real life, an animal population declines for several reasons,
and more slowly than is presented here.
hope the mystery is useful to you!
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