All of the graduation items have been stolen from the school hall! Almost, nothing has been left . . . almost.
Use this mystery prompt to see what ideas your students come up with about 'what could have happened?
Prep: Print and laminate the image below into a card to use for an early finisher or writing center activity.
Display on the board for a whole class writing activity.
There are plenty of ways you may wish to use this prompt. If you would like some ideas, please keep reading below the image prompt.
Remind everyone that there's no right and wrong, otherwise there would be no room for creative thinking in this task.
Now, I think it is only fair for students to find out what actually happened.
The below video is my original story that goes with this prompt. This is in no way a 'correct' answer, just an example of a possible story that works with this prompt.
You may wish to skip this option.
Solve the case! Where are the gremlins hiding with all of the graduation items?
If you are interested in extending this mystery activity by integrating it with your math lesson and giving your students lots of math practice and review, click on your grade level below to find the file case on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Each of the five math pages will require students to complete math i to unlock clues. Be sure to check out the product description to see the specific math skills covered in that grade version.
Not sure what a math mystery is? Do you want to know more about how to use them? Check out the video below.
You may also like to read this blog post
'Five Easy Ways to Use Math Mysteries in your Classroom.'
Still not sure if a math mystery is something you want? Try a full FREE math mystery available to download from my TPT Shop. The link will redirect you to where you can download the multi-grade bundle. It is free to register if you don't have a login with TPT.
CLICK HERE to find in my TPT store. Find more Mystery Prompts HERE Subscribe to my newsletter to find out when new mystery prompts are added to this section of my website. The newsletter will also announce any special giveaways, flash freebies, sales, free stuff, plus other marketing communications such as new blog posts and resources. You can unsubscribe at any time.
If you use Math Mysteries, however hate the amount of paper that is required with all of the photocopying, you may like to try this reusable idea to save paper in the long run.
A bit more prep is required at the start, but then a simple wipe and store away is required for the next time you want to use the case.
- Copies of the mystery pages (story, suspect list, clue pages, and the optional declaration page). Decide how many copies of a single case you would need at a time.
- Laminating pouches + a Laminator
- Manila 'Case File' Folders. One folder for each mystery set.
Now your case files are ready for use!
Complete the mystery using a washable marker as in the image examples below:
Once the mystery is solved, grab a damp cloth or a bit of water on some paper towel/tissues to wipe all of the pages clean.
Let the pages dry and put back into the folder. The mystery is ready to be used again.
While the initial prep for this requires a little bit more effort, the extra step is worth it if you are trying to save on ink and paper in the long run.
In the sample images, I used the Math Mystery 'Case of the Super Bad Superhero.' Download this fun Math Mystery resource for FREE HERE!
What is a Math Mystery?
My Sunny Resort
ICE CREAM TRUCK
You may also be interested in this Summer themed Math Mystery: Case of The Mathattan Meltdown
Available in my TPT store, this math mystery is available for Grades 1-6 (or choose a level that suits the needs of the user best!) Skills and math difficulty is outlined in the product description of each grade level. Click on the cover image to find out more.
Erin D. May, 11 2017 "My students love these and stay engaged with the math concepts they are learning!"
Teri H. September, 12 2016 "Kid tested and kid approved!"
Rachel M. May, 21 2017 "The kids LOVED these! Made for the perfect activity during the last week of school. They were engaged and excited to figure out the next clue. Thank you!"
Jacquelyn B. May, 5 2017 "This particular mystery was a perfect year-end review assessment - the students enjoyed it despite it being a graded assignment! Math Mysteries have become a number one favorite of my 3rd graders!"
It's no secret that exercise helps get the mind focused and releases those beautiful feel good hormones we all desperately need when life feels a little tough. Because of this, getting some exercise as a class around test time will certainly help keep those stress levels down. Do a class workout (I usually pick two students to be the personal trainers for the session), play a sport, do some yoga, or follow a dance video on YouTube to get moving and relaxation levels improving!
2. Meditate & breathe
Carry out some meditation exercises with your students before the test. There are plenty of meditation audio videos available on YouTube. Plus, you can use meditation to help teach students breathing techniques to help calm nerves.
3. Teach positive self-talk
You could do this in conjunction with meditation by inviting students to close their eyes and imagine feeling calm and confident when taking the test. Here's a quick example - 'Some questions may seem like large monsters to begin with, but with a few deep breaths you read the question again and find it starts to shrink . . . you read it again to find it is starting to make sense . . . you read yet another time to find that it's just a cute bunny, you may need to take a look one more time and then finally you'll know what to do.'
4. Play games and do fun activities for review
Making test review time fun will help keep the stress levels down. You could easily do this by incorporating games into your review lessons or you may like to try a math mystery, project or quest to keep them working hard whilst also keeping it exciting and fun.
CLICK HERE to find a large range of Math Mysteries, Projects and Quests.
5. Have healthy easy snacks available for your students
Explain to your students what the snacks are for and set some guidelines to keep it all in check. Point out that you have chosen these snacks to help keep minds fresh and energized to deal with testing. It is for help and not a party.
Some good food examples include: air-popped popcorn, apple slices, plain crackers, orange wedges and bread sticks. (Keep it high carbohydrate but low salt and fat. I recommend nothing too exciting so that it doesn't distract the students and will be seen as a source of nourishment rather than fun.)
6. Make sure students are comfortable
Check to see if all students have adequate seating and desk space to take their desk. Ensure lighting is appropriate in all areas of the room. Keep windows open, make sure the lights work well in the classroom.
Freezing or sweating during the test is a massive distraction and will reduce concentration. So, make sure the temperature is just right for everyone.
7. Encourage & Reassure
Before a test, I like to:
- Remind my students that I believe in them,
- Tell them that the best they can do is to try their best,
- Assure them that while these tests are important, they are not life threatening or the end of it all.
I also like to tell students not to discuss the test afterwards. Students talking about questions and sharing answers has a tendency to cause more unnecessary doubt and stress than ever! If possible, follow up a test with a fun activity or game to help students move forward from the test.
I hope these tips help ease the stress faced during testing time. I wish you all the best of luck and calmness!
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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