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Secret Agents

Invite your students to become sleuths and get to know new classmates. Who can crack the codes? Solve mysteries about your friends!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students how well they think they know their classmates. Are they men of mystery and women of intrigue? What are their hobbies and who are their favorite people? Everyone in the class can be a sleuth! Here’s one way to begin.
    2. Challenge each student to make an ID card. On an index card, students create a Secret Agent identity card using Crayola® Gel Markers and Rainbow Twistables. First, students should come up with an alias, or code name. Suggest they get creative by combining a pet’s name with a grandmother’s name, spelling your name backwards, or choosing a nickname.
    3. Demonstrate to students how to encrypt other vital information about themselves with symbols (you might pick a plane if you like to fly). Design a code for your birthday and street address. Scramble letters or use nonsense symbols. Write your real name on the back. To wear your badge, cut a small X at the top of the card with Crayola Scissors. Slip a button through the X.
    4. Students prepare a Secret Agent Notebook. Decorate a small paper for the front of a Mead Mini Notebook. Remind students to make sure their Secret Agent code name is on it. Glue it on with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    5. Now it’s time to figure out who’s who. As students ask each other questions, record their answers in your Secret Agent notebook with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Try to crack the codes on each other’s ID cards! Who will be the last to reveal their true identity?
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family , groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Working as a large group, students compose questions for their interviews. Use information gathered during interviews to create Secret Agents booklet.

    Invite a detective or FBI agent to visit the class and discuss their work. What equipment do they use? What are some of the most challenging aspects of their work? What type of education does one need to do their jobs?

    Working small groups, students develop a secret code for other groups to attempt to break.

    Students investigate wartime codes. For example, during World War I, the Zimmerman Telegram was sent to Mexico and threatened the United States. Investigate the history of this document, the countries involved and what happened because this secretly coded message was sent?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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