AP Test Prep: Murder Mystery With Ms. Neevel


Bringing in detective work to her classroom, English teacher Sara Neevel put on a Murder Mystery. Photo by Sara-Beth Badalamente

Julya Mae Jones, Staff Writer

When students walked into class they found caution tape and a picture of George Clooney.English teacher Sara Neevel recently taught a murder mystery activity with her AP English Language and Composition class in preparation for the AP exam on May 9.
“They come into the classroom; they see the crime scene and a taped body on the ground with George Clooney’s face on it, with props around the body,” Neevel said.
The students were expected to take the facts from the incident and witness testimonies to synthesize the materials from the resources they were given to create an argument. For the AP Lang exam, students are expected to know how to synthesize for the test’s essay portion.
“They have to make an argument and use research to support it. They read through six different sources and have to pull evidence from those sources,” Neevel said.
Another skill students are expected to know is argumentation which is present in the essay portion of the test.
The test is three hours and fifteen minutes long, consisting of multiple-choice and three free-response questions. Students not only have reviews in class but many study outside of class long before the exam.
“The English department created videos of each of the witnesses’ testimonies. They recorded themselves on Zoom, and some even had costumes. They just had a lot of fun with it, which made it fun,” Neevel said. “We’ve been reviewing for so long that it was a nice way to review. It was very low stakes and more focused on having fun creating an argument than the rigorous practice of those skills.”
Many AP courses are offered at HHS such as AP Language and Composition.
“Regardless of where you’re at as a writer and a critical thinker at the start of the year, you will show immense growth,” Neevel said. Even if you are already a skilled writer, you will find ways to find your own style and argumentation, spice up your writing.”