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Science Mystery Solvers

Context for this Lesson


Developed in collaboration with Rosalie Trujilio at Blackshear Elementary

Focus Question/s: Why do we do experiments? What is the job of a scientist?

§112.13. Science, Grade 2 Knowledge and skills
(3) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows that information and critical thinking, scientific problem solving, and the contributions of scientists are used in making decisions. The student is expected to: (A) identify and explain a problem in his/her own words and propose a task and solution for the problem such as lack of water in a habitat; (B) make predictions based on observable patterns; and (C) identify what a scientist is and explore what different scientists do.

§117.10. Theatre, Grade 2 Knowledge and skills
(1) Perception. The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment, using elements of drama and conventions of theatre. The student is expected to: (C) participate in dramatic play, using actions, sounds, and dialogue; and (D) role-play, imitate, and recreate dialogue.

Materials Needed:

  • Dead or dying plant (a photo of one will also work)
  • Lab coat and/or name tag for scientist character
  • Index cards with steps of the scientific method



Establish drama work expectations 

"What are some of the rules that you have in here to keep everyone safe while we’re learning?" The guidelines the students give will apply to drama work as well. "We’re going to be moving around and we want to keep everyone safe and having fun. Is there anything else we need to make sure everyone knows so we can do that?" 


Have students form a standing circle with the leader in the center. The leader points to a player and calls out a shape. That player, plus the two players on either side of him or her rushes to make the shape before the leader counts to three. For example, if the leader calls “Elephant” the player pointed to makes a long trunk with one arm, while the people on either side form an a ear with their arms in a “C” shape. Rehearse the elephant image, then add in other images one at a time. Add “palm tree” in which all three people in the image wave their arms above their heads like palm tree leaves. Once students are comfortable with those two, add in the non-image of “Donkey” in which the three people in the image do not move at all. When students are comfortable with this activity, ask the class to name different parts of a plant. Choose one to brainstorm on how we might make a three-person image of that part. Establish images for three plant parts and play the game with these image cues.

Transition: Teacher (who will be in role) says that she is going to go check on the guest that should be coming to visit the class and re-enters the room.



Teaching artist comes back into the room as a scientist with a dying plant (or photo of one). "Is this the science class? Oh good! I’m so glad I found you. I really need some help. I just started working at the biology lab, and my boss gave me her plant to take care of over the weekend, and look what happened! I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might lose my job! I need to figure out what happened to my plant."


Teacher (who is not in role) will lead DAR questioning about the dead plant.

  • What do you notice about this plant?
  • Based on these observations, what do you think could have happened to this plant?
  • We’ve been studying the scientific method and how to do an experiment. Is there an experiment we could do to confirm what we think might have happened?

Scientific Method Sequencing

Teacher in role: "Do an experiment! That’s such a great idea! I have the steps of the scientific method written down right here." TIR pulls out the notecards and they fall to the floor, completely out of order. "Oh no! I had them in order, and now I’ll never figure it out. Wait, could you help me put them back in order? Do you know anything about the scientific method?" The teacher in role will then ask for volunteers from the class to help her re-order her cards and explain the reasoning behind their sequencing choices.

Transition: "Okay, now that that’s done, I guess I’m ready to do an experiment. Except, I don’t really know that much about plants, as you can see from this one I tried to take care of. I have a lot of trouble remembering things, and I just can’t remember the parts of the plant. Do you have any advice?" 

Review adaptation of Donkey

With the help of the teacher (who is not in role), the students will remember the adaptation of Donkey they played as a warm up and teach it to the scientist. "Thank you all so much for teaching me that game. With those images I think I’ll be able to remember the parts of a plant." 

Transition: "Thank you for your help today. I should probably get back to the lab. I can’t wait to show my boss that I can remember things better now. Goodbye!" TIR exits and re-enters out of role. "Hi everyone. I waited in the office for our special guest, but I never saw her. Did she make it to the classroom?"


Describe: Tell me about this visit from the scientist. What did he/she need from the class?

Analyze: How did you help the scientist? What did you teach her?

Relate: How could we test our hypothesis that plants need air, water, sun and soil to survive?

Classroom teacher then explains to the class that they will be doing their experiment this week and they will write a letter to the scientist to tell her about the results and conclusions.