Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate ability to use secrets as a means of enhancing the emotional intensity in a scene by participating in a murder mystery game.


Enduring Understanding 1:

Secrets impact relationships.


Enduring Understanding 2:

Secrets highly influence character development.


Essential Question 1:

Why do people keep secrets?


Essential Question 2:

How can secrets influence how people of various relationships respond to each other?


Materials needed:

Index cards with secrets/profile on them, ambiguous scene scripts.



Show last scene of “Clue” and ask students to look for what secrets the characters may have.


Step 1 – Discussion:

Discuss the secrets scene in the clip.


Step 2 – Practice:

Hand to each student a murder mystery profile, and a separate index card with a secret on it.


Examples of secrets:

I have to use the restroom, my sister dated the victim, I toilet papered Mr. F’s house last night, I want to break up with Mr. P, I have a crush on Miss S, I know Mrs D’s mother, etc.


Step 3 – Practice:

Play “Murder in the Dark” with the class with the teacher being the moderator. Before you begin have each of the characters introduce themselves as if at a fancy party. Have them incorporate the information from their profiles and index cards into their characters as they interact.


Step 4- Setup/Instruction:

Sort through a deck of cards and find the following-an Ace, a Jack, a king, a queen, and number cards for the amount of remaining people. (i.e.-if six people were playing, you would need two number cards.) Adapt #s for number of people in your class. Aces represent murderers, King represents fortune tellers, Queen represents Cupid, Jack represents peeping girl, 10 represents witch, etc. All non-designated number cards represent villagers.
Powers that each one has during each round:
Murderers: Silently work together to choose who dies.
Fortune Teller: Asks moderator if one person is the murderer. Murder confirms or denies FT’s choice.
Cupid: Chooses two people to be lovers. This only occurs during the first round. Once two people are chosen to be lovers their fates are linked for remainder of the game. So if one person dies, the other dies too regardless of their role. The moderator informs the two lovers who they are once they have been chosen by the Cupid.
Peeping Girl: can peek when the murders are deciding who to kill. Don’t get caught or you’ll likely die next.
Witch: Has option to save one person in the circle. If the person saved is the one killed, no one dies that round, but moderator says something to the effect that they would have died but was saved by the witch. If the person saved is someone accused as murderer, they are not out that round.
Villagers work together to decide on who the murderer is.
Once you die, you cannot speak, only watch.
How to win: Villagers win by discovering who the murderers are. Murderers win by killing everyone off without exposing themselves.


Step 5-Setup:

Give a card to everyone. Nobody looks at each other’s cards. Once they have their cards and have seen them, put them down somewhere out of the way for the next round.


Step 6- Practice:

Everyone puts their head down. Moderator says, “Murderers, heads up!” Murderers choose who will die the first round. Murderers put their head down. Fortune Teller’s head comes up and picks someone to ask if they are a murderer. Cupid head comes up next. Chooses lovers, lovers are informed they are linked together. Witch head comes up, saves one person.


Step 7 – Practice:

Morning time. Everyone’s head comes up. Moderator reveals what happened during the night. Students work together to decide who the murderer is, while keeping their profile and secrets in character.


Step 8 – Practice:

Once there is a consensus on who is a murder that person accused dies and tells if he/she was a murderer or not.


Step 9 – Practice:

Repeat steps 6-8 until villagers or murderers win.


Step 10 – Discussion:

How did secrets played a part in the game.


Step 11 – Application:

Hand out Ambiguous scene scripts and instruct students these are the scripts they will use for their final performance in the unit. They have to play objectives and tactics, each character must have a secret, (which the partner may or may not know) and they need to incorporate room conflict and physical obstacle into their scene.


Final Assessment for Lesson 7:

Informal assessment of Murder Mystery game.



Memorize script for performances.



For Murder Mystery profiles see: