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Featured Website of the Month (Aug.) - Inquiry-Based Learning

What’s that? Why do I need to do that? Who is that? Where are we? Why does this happen? Do you ever feel like a majority of the time, kids are asking questions. Kids are innately curious and love to ask questions. 

This month’s website feature is great for our curious kids who love to inquire. Mystery Doug is an offshoot of Mystery Science, which I’ve featured before. Mystery Science is geared towards longer class lessons about all things science. Mystery Science gives entire lesson plans and material lists. Mystery Doug, on the other hand, is geared towards quick videos that engage students and answer simple questions. 

The host of the website is Doug Peltz. He encourages kids to send him their questions. Along the top menu bar, there is a button called Ask Doug. Clicking on this will bring you to a page with a giant clipart jar. There is a space for you to type a question to Doug. The page reads “Every week, Doug pulls three questions from his jar and chooses one to answer in a short video”. Kids submit questions about a variety of topics. There are science questions, such as “Why do penguins have wings when they can’t fly?”. There are personal interest questions, such as “How were emojis created?". There are history questions, such as “Who invented football?”.

The layout for the rest of the website is aesthetically pleasing and quite simple. It’s essentially a list of the videos, labeled with the question that Doug is answering. Initially, they are ‘locked’. However, if you send an email to five friends about Mystery Doug, these videos will unlock for you. Then you will have access to all the videos that Doug has completed. He comes out with a new video each week. Each video is short, roughly between 2 and 10 minutes.

These videos could be used for many purposes. Here are just a few ways to use the videos:

  • As part of Morning Meeting

  • During Calendar Time

  • As hooks during lessons

  • As discussion starters before learning about a topic

I’ve even learned things from Mystery Doug. Like, did you know that it’s possible for pigs to get sunburned? Or did you know that there is a strange fish that looks like a blob, called a blobfish?

Doug has a way of encouraging kids to be curious. I appreciate his easy to understand language and his willingness to explore a variety of topics that interest kids. How might you use this resource in your classroom?

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