Historical Thinking Skills Introduction Solve a School Mystery!


Social Studies – History, U.S. History, World History
Grade Levels
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th
Resource Type
Activities, Graphic Organizers, Cooperative Learning
File Type
Zip (6 MB|11 pages)

Products Included in This Bundle:


Struggling with making historical thinking skills easy and accessible to your students? This introductory activity makes the skills relatable and fun!

With this activity, students will be introduced to the major historical thinking skills (historical context, point of view, purpose, audience, and sourcing) without requiring them to also analyze historical information. The situation involves a girl named Gabby. Someone has written graffiti on the school wall about Gabby, and no one knows who!

With no cameras facing that location, the assistant principal (played by your students) will have to investigate the 5 possible culprits seen in the area. Students will then write a referral where they use the evidence collected to place blame. All of the profiles are written in a way so that anyone could be found guilty if argued in the right way. Therefore, this activity will lead to a bunch of fun debate.

These is a perfect back to school activity. The best part is that you can refer back to this lesson throughout the school year. When students forget what “point of view” means, you can refer back to this story. You can view more in the preview here.

The digital version is similar, however, I’ve created a digital Google Slides version of the graphic organizer that can be shared with students to edit in groups.

NOTE: The story involves Gabby sneaking out of her house to meet up with a boy named Josh. As noted in the profile of Gabby, the students just meet to talk. It’s very PG rated, however, I thought I would make the plot line clear if you work in a really restrictive district.

Included within this resource:

  • A PowerPoint version of the product (editable)
  • A PDF version of the product (not editable)
  • A Google Slides Version of the document (The link provided will prompt you to make your own file. You can then add that file to your drive and share with your students. This version is also editable.)
  • A lesson plan to help with implementation

© Copyright 2020 Peacefield History. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy pages specifically designed for student or teacher use by the original purchaser or licensee. This is intended to be used by one teacher unless additional licenses have been purchased. The reproduction of any other part of this product is strictly prohibited. Copying any part of this product and placing it on the Internet in any form besides Google Classroom is strictly forbidden. Doing so makes it possible for an Internet search to make the document available on the Internet, free of charge, and is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).


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