Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Murder, Mystery, and Mahem
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will complete a murder mystery activity. The entirety of the lesson will focus on solving a murder and completing the productive activity. Time will be provided at the beginning of the lesson to highlight and clarify some key language associated with murder mystery games.


Abc Murder in the Classroom: Worksheet

Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer-speaking practice while asking and answering basic 'W' questions.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity to use their deductive-reasoning skills, while collecting clues from freer-speaking conversations.


Warmer/Lead-in (6-9 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB WHAT IS... and underneath the header the following: 1) A MURDER MYSTERY? [what happens during the mystery?] 2) A DETECTIVE? [what does a detective do?] 3) THE ENDING? Elicit from the WC their thoughts on the subject--concerning murder mysteries. Following a brief discussion on these terms, inform the WC that they are going to play, and role-play in, a murder mystery game. "Each of you will role-play a different character in this activity, and you will also take on the role of detective, trying to solve the murder." Write on the WB: WHO DID IT? and WHY?

Warmer/Lead-In Continued and Exposure (11-13 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Write on the WB: MURDER IN THE CLASSROOM. Inform the WC that they are currently attending a school reunion at Yildiz Technical University. "A scream is heard from one of the classrooms. It's 8:30 pm [write on the WB]. A few minutes after the scream is heard, the dead body of DR. HATICE GULRU YUKSEL [write on the WB], a cranky old English teacher, is found. She has been HIT ON THE HEAD [write on the WB]. Also found in the classroom, near Dr. Yuksel, were a number of items: a BOOK [write on the WB] written by one of her ex-students, Nagehan Ozhim, soaked in blood, a PHOTOGRAPH [write on the WB] of one of her fellow teachers, a young woman named Hilda Khajehamiri, and a HANDKERCHIEF [write on the WB] with the initials U.G. on it." Show the Ss the clues while describing them. "At the moment these are the three main suspects (Ms. Nagehan, the author of the book; Ms. Hilda, the person in the photograph; and whomever owns the handkerchief), but everyone who was at the party and saw or spoke to Ms. Yuksel needs to be questioned." Inform the WC that each Ss is going to role-play one of the people who attended the reunion. "You will choose a character card, from this pile, and read about your character." Instruct the WC that they will need to interview each other to create a timeline of the evening. "Memorize the information on your character card so that you can answer some questions while role-playing your character." Provide Ss time to select and memorize their character cards.

Useful Language (6-9 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB the following terms: ALIBI, MOTIVE, and CLUE. Try to elicit from the WC the definitions for these terms, within the context of murder and detective work. [T Answer: Alibi, sb with this can prove that they were somewhere else when a crime was committed, and therefore, can be proven 'not guilty'; Motive, the reason/rationale for doing sth; Clue, a discovered object or fact, found through detective work, that helps to solve a crime or mystery]. Highlight the fact that a strong alibi requires a WITNESS [write on the WB].

Productive Task: Character Interviews (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Distribute the 'Worksheet' HO and inform the WC that they are going to interview each other to determine which of the reunion attendees have motive for killing Ms. Yuksel and which of the reunion attendees have a good/strong alibi. Write on the WB the following INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: 1) What is your name? 2) Why were you at the party? 3) What was your relationship with Ms. Yuksel? 4) When did you last see Ms. Yuksel? 5) What were you doing when you heard the scream? Stress the fact that when answering the questions (on the WB), the Ss should try to answer like their character would. Also, direct the Ss' attention to the clues one more time and mention that at least one of the character's answers are false (i.e. the liar is the killer). Provide the Ss with a good amount of time to interview each other. Play some mystery music in the background during the activity. YouTube: 12 Horror/Thriller Movies Soundtrack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7uGp6-gxUw

Feedback and the Big Reveal (8-10 minutes) • To provide feedback on the activity and the murder mystery

Once Ss have finished interviewing each other, collect the character cards and have the WC organize themselves into groups. "Now I want you to discuss with each other the information that you collected and try to determine who killed Ms. Yuksel and why." Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Write on the WB the groups' answers, underneath the headers WHO? and WHY? T Answer: Mr. Arif Gulec is Ms. Hilda Khajehamiri's father; he and Ms. Yuksel had a relationship in college. Ms. Yuksel has always kept it a secret but after the last argument with Hilda she plans to tell her the truth. She tells Mr. Gulec about her plan and they argue. Kadir Guven overhears them. Mr. Gulec is furious and it is he who follows Ms. Yuksel to the classroom and hits her over the head with the book. He wasn't in his office when everyone heard the scream; that's why when Hilda Khajehamiri knocked on the door, she got no answer.

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