I developed math mysteries to be versatile in their use. After being in a teaching role that involved seeing 220 different kids a week across K-6, I initially made this math mystery range to be something that I could quickly prepare, engage, teach, be mostly self-correcting, and quick to pack up before heading onto the next classroom.. So, if you've seen these math mysteries and ever wondered what you can use them for, keep on reading.
We've listened to your feedback and decided it was time to give the Case of the Divided Dragons video hook a fresh new makeover. We think this new introductory video will help engage and motivate your students to use their division and problem solving skills to find the guilty dragon in this math mystery! Read on to check out the new video for the Division Skills focused math mystery - the Case of the Divided Dragons.
Math Detectives, we need your help!
If you are looking for a winter themed math activity that will engage and motivate your kids to do math this chilly season, the Case of the Snowman Army will capture their attention and educate along the way! Ideal for a seasonal math spiral review, continue reading to take a sneak peek what's inside this C.S.I. packet that will require your math detectives to save the day!
When using any of the math mystery resources from my range as a class activity, I recommend pacing the case clue by clue rather than giving your students all of the five clue worksheets in one go. By pacing the clues, it will stop some students from racing too far ahead of the rest, while others are left behind. Turning a math mystery into a competition has its benefits, and certainly is still a fine approach to using these if you prefer to give all five clues in a booklet format for students to work on at their own pace. However, in this post, I aim to outline five tips with suggestions that will help set up ALL of your students for math mystery success!
A few of the mysteries in my Math Mystery range are structured differently by following a 5 W's Case File Format. These are particularly useful for younger students or special needs. In this post:
NEW 5 W's LOGO LABEL ON COVERS
To enable you to quickly identify if a math mystery follows this 5 W's structure, I've added a new little logo somewhere on the covers. If this is the type of math mystery structure you would prefer to use with your kids, keep an eye out for this little image below:
GRADE LEVEL GUIDES
The grade levels are marked for recommended age ranges because of the math involved within the mystery packet. Unlike the regular math mystery range, because these tend to focus on early learning skills, they can be used across K-2 depending where your students are at. For example, in the Case of the Great Zoo Escape, the packet focuses on addition and subtraction within 20. This is a skill that would be useful for both first and second graders to practice and build fluency. The packets marked for Kindergarten, contain basic numeracy skills, and would be great for the early part of first grade too. Even with the grade guides, I still recommend checking the math skills required in the product description to determine suitability for your students since no class is the same.
For some younger students, the elimination process in my regular math mystery range is a little bit too much. This is where these packets come in handy; if you still want the fun element of a mystery, but in a less stressful format for your little detectives.
Instead of the usual list of suspects/locations/scenarios, in the 5 W's series, that page is replaced with a case file with five questions to be answered - Who, Where, When, What, and Why? (see image below).
Each clue requires some math work and some ELA work to solve which of the options at the bottom need to be cut/pasted to the Case File.
âBelow is an example from the Case of The Super Bad Superhero:
As you can see in the clue example page above, there are five options at the bottom of the page. Students must complete the math activity to figure out what is the super power of the super bad superhero. Once solved, the student must cut out the super power and paste it onto their Case file page in the 'What - Clue 2' box.
Reading and explaining the instructions at the top is recommended for the early years, especially if using with Kindergarten.
Tip: Guide them through each clue to keep the whole class at the same pace.
CHECK OUT A FULL MATH MYSTERY IN THIS 5 W's FORMAT FREE!
I like to offer samples of my work to help you know whether it is something that you are interested in, or if it works for your class.
CLICK HERE to find where to download the 'Case of the Super Bad Superhero' for Kindergarten, using this 5 W's format.
If you've found the other math mystery structures too difficult for your students, then you may prefer this alternative.
Your feedback on this structure would be most appreciated. I will be making more using this 5 W structure for the early years too. If you prefer this format, keep an eye out for the little logo on the cover to know that it follows that format.
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?
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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