Unsolved Mysteries Webquest



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Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson often drew different conclusions from the same clues, the same pieces of information. They then looked for additional evidence to prove that something was true.

The process of solving a mystery and the process of creating a presentation have several things in common. Both require gathering and studying clues, evidence, and information; weeding out "red herrings" or irrelevant information; organizing thoughts; and presenting accurate conclusions.

You are a self-employed researcher and presenter. You have been hired by the Unsolved Mysteries Society to conduct background research for an upcoming documentary. It is very important for you to provide accurate information, because the people at the Unsolved Mysteries Society pride themselves on presenting nothing but facts. Your professional reputation (and your future paychecks!) will be affected by the quality of the report you produce for them.

Click the "Task" tab to continue. 

(adapted from Carla @ http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html)



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The Unsolved Mysteries Society has commissioned a presentation of at least 10 slides analyzing the information about one of these topics.

Your presentation will explain what facts are known, what theories have been presented to explain the facts, which theory has the most support, and what aspects of the mystery remain unexplained. The producers will use this information as they prepare the script of the documentary.

Click the "Process" tab to continue.

(adapted from Carla @ http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html)



Download Process Clipart

The process of conducting and presenting research has several steps.

  1. Choose an unsolved mystery.
  2. Find facts and theories about the mystery.
    Take notes from books, magazine articles, and the Internet. Keep track of your sources, especially the page numbers of print materials and the URL (Web address) of any online materials. Ask your teacher for a format for your notes (think about Ms. Gravely's presentation).
  3. Think about what you have learned.
    Do you have any unanswered questions? If you do, you may need to continue your research.
  4. Organize the material you have gathered into a useful form.
    Some people like graphic organizers; some like outlines; some like lists. The important thing is to plan.
  5. Begin creating your presentation.
    Get your facts and ideas into slides. Be sure to indicate the source of facts, ideas, and phrases you found during your research, so that you avoid plagiarism.
  6. Think some more and revise your presentation.
    There is more to revising than checking spelling and punctuation, although those are also important. You might want to reorganize, or you might see that you need one or two more facts.
  7. Present your work.
  8. Congratulate yourself on completing the assignment and enjoy your Spring Break!

Click on the "evaluation" tab to continue.

(adapted from Carla @ http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html)



The report meets these criteria:






Includes at least 10 verifiable facts about topic.

Mentions at least three leading theories and discusses how reliable each theory is.

Mentions the unexplained aspects and tells why they are unexplained.

Gathered evidence in support of a thesis, including information on all relevant perspectives.

Communicates information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently.

Makes distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas.


Includes a bibliography of reference materials for a report using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents.

Uses a variety of reference sources, including word, pictorial, audio, and Internet sources, to locate information in support of topic.

Includes visual aids by using technology to organize and record information on charts, data tables, maps, and graphs.

Demonstrates correct citation of sources, including direct quotations and paraphrased material.


Anticipates and addresses audience’s potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations.

Uses technical terms and notations accurately.

Uses varied and expanded vocabulary.

Uses appropriate tone and style.

Presentation is legible, shows accurate spelling and correct use of conventions of punctuation and capitalization.

Produced a presentation of at least 10 slides

Additional comments: 


Click on the "Conclusion" tab to proceed.

(adapted from Carla @ http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html)



Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were always able to solve the crime. No situation remained a mystery to them for very long. But they are characters in fiction.

You, in contrast, have investigated a real mystery. You have seen that not all sources of information are equally reliable. You have seen that some explanations are based more on opinion than on fact. You have seen that nothing replaces your own informed judgement.

You have learned how to find the most accurate information available, how to give credit where credit is due, and how to present your findings to others.

Congratulations! Even Holmes and Watson would be proud.

(adapted from Carla @ http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html


This project and webquest is adapted from Carla Beard at http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/intro.html.

Resources for Carla Beard's webquest can also be found here: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/msb/mysteries/resources.html

Picture from Introduction page from <a href="http://worldartsme.com/">WorldArtsMe</a>

Picture from Task page from <a href="http://worldartsme.com/">WorldArtsMe</a>

Picture from Process page from <a href="http://worldartsme.com/">WorldArtsMe</a>

Picture from Conclusion page from http://www.thoughtspots.ca/You_did_it_p/diditbig01.htm