Looking for a fun way to introduce Shakespeare? Skip the intro lecture and immerse your students in a Shakespearean mystery to learn about him instead!
For instance, did you know that Shakespeare may have fled the English countryside to escape punishment for poaching deer? Who knew, right?! In this engaging activity, students learn about 5 locations Shakespeare is rumored to have spent time between 1578-1582 and 1585-1592 and are challenged to take a position on where Shakespeare was during this period, commonly labeled his “Lost Years.”
This critical thinking activity is the perfect intro-to-Shakespeare/his plays activity, mid-unit activity, or even end-of-unit activity. As a Google slides interactive, digital activity, it is easy to assign and assess!
- a timeline that establishes major moments in Shakespeare’s life, including the “Lost Years”
- a Renassiance-era map with pins that students click on to learn from 5 detailed, thoroughly-researched slides of content and engaging visuals for 5 locations (which contain evidence from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; Romeo and Juliet; and The Merchant of Venice)
- a slide with 3 culminating questions (and extension ideas in the teacher’s notes)
- typical answers to 2 of the 3 student questions (one generates many ideas and will vary by student)
- the chance to sit back and watch students read and think!
Technology note: You need Google Drive to access and share this resource with students, who also need Google accounts.
Vocabulary note: The following, challenging vocabulary words appear throughout these slides. It may be helpful to preview them with your students. Alphabetically, the slides contain:
Please note: This activity is not intended to present students with an exact answer, as there is no documented support for these theories; rather, it allows students to practice their inferencing skills while learning about and having fun taking a stab at this classic debate.
See why this resource has been described as “a fun introduction activity to William Shakespeare’s writing! My kids really liked it!”
Click here to “find Will!”
(I love mysteries about the Bard. This activity is actually part of a bundle (Shakespeare Introduction Activity Lost Years Informational Text Mystery Digital) that includes the “Lost Years” activity as well as an informational that explores a mystery about Shakespeare’s skull, which makes for a great Halloween resource!).