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Bringing the Mystery Image Contest into Your Classroom

Our November Mystery Image Contest wrapped up just this week, but we're already gearing up for December. We hope to build up classroom participation in future Mystery Image Contests, so next month's will have an extra prize up for grabs: one lucky class of students who guesses the correct answer will win a gift certificate for their teacher to purchase classroom science supplies.

It's easy to integrate the Mystery Image Contest into your classroom instruction: each contrest provides a great opportunity to practice inquiry-based learning. Use the mystery image to prompt students to make observations and inferences, both key parts of scientific inquiry as practiced by scientists. After students have volunteered their guesses for what the image is, take a vote and enter your students' best guess in the contest using the "Class of Students" option on the entry form. (Remember, enter only one guess per class of students!) Check back after the answer has been revealed to help your students assess the observations and inferences they made earlier.

The contests can also be woven into a class lesson or unit. When each answer is revealed at the end of the contest, the reveal page will be updated with a special For Educators section. This section contains tips and ideas for classroom use tailored to that contest's image, as well as a list of related lessons, tools, and other resources from Science NetLinks. Past contests have featured images of a parrot, broccoflower, and lava, which could, for example, be integrated into lessons or units about tropical birds, fractals in nature, or volcanic activity, respectively.

We hope that you will participate in a Mystery Image Contest with your students. Leave us a message below, tweet us at @ScienceNetLinks, or comment on this Thinkfinity discussion thread with your stories of bringing the contest into your classroom!

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