PITTSBURG — A third grade class at Meadowlark Elementary used Skype to connect with students across the nation — but there’s a catch — the class has no idea whom they are talking to, or where the students are located until they ask questions about the state's geography and history.
Meadowlark Third Grade Teacher Brendan Finley’s class have been participating in a program called “Mystery Skype.” Students are able to connect online through video chat and ask each other questions.
“Using Skype is a great experience for them to learn about other states and students around the country,” Finley said.
Finley’s class has had seven Mystery Skypes, Wednesday’s chat was an improvement in comparison to the past.
“This is the best one yet,” Finley said. “The class did a good job and had fun.”
A projector showed the other class and the students were able to communicate through a laptop webcam.
Each student has a job to do, programmer, speakers and so on. Each student holds a card which says yes or no and raises them in response to the mystery classes’ questions.
The students learned more than just geography and history, they learned how to communicate. The students asked things like “are you ready” and “your turn” to communicate back and forth.
The students began by playing the game “rock, paper, scissors” — winner goes first.
One at a time, a representative came up and asked the other class a question.
The mystery class asked the Meadowlark students if they were part of the original 13 colonies.
Finley’s class said no, as Kansas is not part of the original 13 colonies.
As questions are asked, the students mark the states on a map provided. The students used what they learned from class and their reference books to figure out where the other class was located.
Meadowlark students asked the mystery class if they were south of Ohio,, and they said “yes.”
Then they asked if the class was west of the Mississippi River and they said “no.”
Using these clues the students figured out where the class was located.
The mystery class told the Meadowlark class over half of the battles of the Civil War were there,
Patrick Henry's famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death” speech was made there and
their school has kindergarten through 12th grade — all of which have lockers. Their mascot is a patriot and their school is one of the most haunted schools.
The mystery class was a fourth grade class from Matthew Whaley Elementary School in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The Meadowlark students shared information about their city and school — Pittsburg State University’s Gorilla Gus, Kansas’ mammal is the bison and Kansas’ flag.
Third grader Korey Ross, who was a programmer during the Skype session, said she likes doing the Mystery Skypes.
“I like it,” Ross said. “I get to learn about other people and other states.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP.