First, SET THE STAGE TO ENGAGE!
Each Math Mystery begins with an opening onepage story (as in the image below). The story sets up the mystery and has been designed to engage students. We are now also creating VIDEO HOOKS for the math mysteries, which are an optional extra that can be used to introduce your class to the activity and ‘hook’ them into the math work. (View an example Video Hook below too).
CHOOSE to use either the written story or video hook to introduce the activity to your students. You could choose to use both if you wish.
AN EXTENSIVE LIST OF POSSIBILITIES!
Each Math mystery for 2nd grade and up comes with a long list of possible solutions to the mystery component of the activity (see image A). The 1stgrade math mysteries come with fewer options and visual pictures instead (see image B). These are designed to make the guessing factor fun and large for the older grades. For the table list of suspects, you could assign a suspect to each student to make it extra exciting.
FIVE CLUE SHEETS WITH MATH QUESTIONS
Every math mystery in my range is consistent with having five clues to solve. Each clue sheet will require students to carry out math work. If the answers are correct, an important clue reveals in a message! If the clue doesn’t make sense, then students will know there are errors in their answers. The fact that these are practically selfchecking also reduces teacher marking time...YAY!!!
To quickly and easily find out the math skill covered in each clue, check the product description of the math mystery grade version you would like.
The clue sheets (as long as it is the same clue number) are interchangeable between the 2nd to 8thgrade math mysteries (as long as the story title is the same); so you can swap pages around to tailor the mystery to suit your learners and differentiate within your classroom. For example, in the image below.
You can try this out with the free mystery at the end. critical thinking
On top of all the math questions embedded into the mystery, critical thinking is an additional must to solve the mystery component of the activity. Upon discovery of a clue, students must read, comprehend and think about what the clue means for them to do with the LIST given. It doesn’t always tell you who or what to cross off; sometimes it is giving you a clue as to who to keep instead! Some clues can be quite tricky (but make for great discussions). The clues are sometimes straightforward and easy to interpret with what to do, others can be in a riddle form (like the one below), that will require an extra step in thinking about the elimination step.
Example:
"A LADY WAS ABLE TO SCARE OFF THE ANTIHERO WITH COOKIES' If a lady was able to scare the antihero away with cookies, then the Super Bad Superhero MUST HAVE a weakness to cookies. Some students may accidentally cross off all suspects with a weakness to cookies. However, it SHOULD be to cross off all suspects that have a weakness to something else and KEEP only suspects with a weakness to cookies. SOLVE IT!
By the end of the five clues, if done correctly, only one row will remain. That row provides the answer to the mystery!
Once students declare the correct mystery answer, you have the optional award provided within the download that you can give to them.
If the student gets the correct mystery answer, only a glance over the completed clue sheets is all the marking you will need to do.
MULTIPLE USES FOR THE CLASSROOM OR AT HOME
There are multiple uses for math mysteries. These included, but are not limited to,
DOWNLOAD A FREE MULTIPLE GRADE LEVEL MATH MYSTERY TO TRY!
Download directly above or find it in my TPT store HERE to download for free. Video hook included!
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The second poster outlines the steps to rounding numbers, with an example included.
You may also be interested in this fun ROUNDING Math Mystery: Case of The Robot Robbery. Each grade version will engage and motivate your students to get lots of practice with rounding, as they must solve who the guilty robot is.
3rd Grade Version  Rounding to the Nearest Ten and Hundred 4th Grade Version  Rounding Whole Numbers up to Millions 5th Grade Version  Rounding Decimals Video Hook (Optional Use to introduce the Mystery Story)CHECK OUT FEEDBACK FROM OTHER EDUCATORSClick on the Grade cover image to find out more!
Counting & Ordering Numbers 120 Activity
For this simple activity, I labeled the numbers 120 on the individual Lego blocks. On the opposite side of each block, I drew the amount of dots to represent the number (optional). Once ready to begin the activity, spread the blocks out and jumble the numbers around as in the picture below. Keep all of the numerals facing upwards. Then, set the challenge to build a tower putting the numbers in the correct order from 120. If stuck on the number, count the dots!
I put Lego wheels on the base for my son since he loves trucks and cars, but any Lego base will do to help the tower from falling. He enjoyed driving his tower of 20 blocks around once he finished the task.
Differentiation option for older kids – Comparing and Ordering Larger Numbers
This activity can easily be adapted to suit older kids to work on comparing ordering larger numbers. To do this, all I would do is label the blocks with the numbers appropriate to challenge the level of difficulty my students need.. Below is an example set for ordering 4digit numbers.
Then set the challenge to build a tower in ‘ascending’ order (from least to greatest).
Another great activity that can be used at home or in the classroom is this fun Math Mystery below, which focuses on Comparing and Ordering numbers, 'Case of The Outback Outlaw'. Kids will be practicing this important skill whilst also working on solving who stole the opals from the Coober Pedy mine in the Outback of Australia.
It's available in four different levels to choose difficulty from. Click on the grade level version below to find out what number range/s are explored in each.. 
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AuthorA 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife. Archives
February 2018
