It's no mystery that a healthy teacher is a happy teacher. Happy teachers are calmer, more effective, and are an integral part of maintaining a positive classroom environment. I've found that when I eat healthy and nutritious food, it helps me go into a positive frame of mind, and the kids seem calmer around me too. It took me a while to notice it, but now I truly believe that kids feed off your energy! So if you are tired and need a healthy energy boost, these yummy brownie bliss balls are the perfect guilt-free teacher treat!
The recipe for these healthy brownie bliss balls is easy to make, can be made in advance, and can be kept in your bag! Everyone might enjoy them in the teacher lounge too if you dare to share.
The previous post aimed at providing some insight to introversion. If you suspect that you have one or more introverted students in your classroom (there's a high chance that you will at least have one), below are some strategies that you can implement in your classroom to help them thrive in school.
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?
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 EDUCATORS
Click on the Grade cover image to find out more!
If you have used one of my math mystery packets, you are probably aware that most of the stories come in different grade levels. If you haven’t used one yet, I will show you where to get a free copy later in this post. Because I designed the grade levels in a way to enable use for differentiation purposes, the mystery solutions are the same in all. What I didn’t plan for was the fact that so many of you wonderful teachers are using these math mysteries in your classrooms and the possibility of running into a class (or some students) who have done a particular math mystery story before are beginning to happen. Also, some feedback has suggested that other grade levels want to use these activities, but don’t want to do so in case one class spills the solution beans to another class who hasn’t done it yet. So, I’ve taken all of this on board and have added ‘Editable suspect/location/cure/scenario lists’ to all of the mystery packets. With the editable file, I have also added two bonus pre-made alternative lists. In this post, I will explain this new update, including how to make yourself a new list.
THE CLUES WILL STILL BE THE SAME SO KEEP ‘COMBOS’ THE SAME
Although the final solution is changeable, the clues will need to remain the same. For this reason, the combinations in the columns (except for column 1) should stay as they are.
*A ‘combo’ is the information given in columns 2- 6,
An example from 'Case of The Super Bad Superhero' is circled below:
You can change the row position of a combo; in fact, I recommend shuffling the rows as well as changing names in column 1. But altering these too much can collide with the clues. So, if you do make some minor adjustments to the details, please check that the elimination process still works with the clues of the mystery.
EDITABLE LISTS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR MATH MYSTERY PACKETS GRADES 2 and up
The Kindergarten and first-grade math mysteries do not have this update due to the different set up of this section for those versions. However, this shouldn’t be a problem because the Kindergarten ones are completely different in process and solution anyway, and the first graders will be the first to do a story of its kind.
NAME CHANGING IN THE FIRST COLUMN
Change the names of suspects, locations, cures or even scenarios to your liking. Add your students’ names, familiar location names or throw in some new made-up names. If you have time, a fun idea may be to invite your students to come up with some ideas for the list. The only thing that you may need to be careful of is labeling something in column 1 with a combo row that obviously doesn’t add up and may confuse students.
For example, if you put in column 1 “The Forbidden Forest,” but location type is marked as ‘beach’ in that row, your students will probably raise an eyebrow.
SHUFFLE TO KEEP STUDENTS GUESSING
I recommend shuffling rows and mixing column 1 labels with the combos. Doing so, is particularly important if you know that your students have already done the math mystery story you are about to attempt. Shuffle the rows, and either alter the names/titles in column 1 or shuffle the column 1 names around to match up with a new combo.
An easy way to do a ‘SHUFFLE’ is to use the blank list template provided on page 4 in the editable file.
8 EASY STEPS TO SHUFFLE IT UP!
2 Duplicate the original list on page 2 above the copy of the blank template you made in step 1. The original list from 'Case of The Super Bad Superhero' is below.
3. Note the mystery answer of the original list on page 3.
4. Cut the combo of the mystery answer from your Page 2 copy and paste in a new row position on your blank page.
5. Either choose a different name in column 1 from the original list to pair with the ‘answer combo’ or write new ideas into column 1. I put 'Exampletron' in the image example above. Now, this is your new Mystery Solution Answer and must be the final row remaining after the revealing of all five clues.
6. Continue to cut and paste combos from the original list into different rows of the new blank page.
Tip: It's best to 'cut' and paste, rather than 'copy' and paste, so that you know which combos you have done already. This is the reason for the duplicating suggestion made in Steps 1 and 2 (so you have the original templates still in tact for next time).
7. After all combos have been transferred to the new page, you can either cut and paste column 1 names and pair them up with a new combo row on your list, or make up new names for column 1.
Below is an example of a new one I made, which is included in the 'Case of The Super Bad Superhero' packet to use as a ready-made alternative list.
8. Finally, check by reading the clues in the answer section of the math mystery and trying out the elimination process yourself to make sure only one row remains at the end.
USING THE PRE-MADE ALTERNATIVE LISTS
Within the editable PPT document for every packet download, pages 5 and 6 contain two NEW lists that automatically are set to give a different mystery solution. I made these so that if you do discover that you need a different mystery solution, but do not have the time to carry out the steps above, you can quickly just print one of those off and swap out with the original. On page 1 within the editable file, there is a section that briefs you on the mystery answer solution for each pre-made list. I've circled where to look for it in the Case of The Super Bad Superhero example . . . this is set up the same way as editable files in all of the other math mysteries.
Unless your students have brilliant memories and remember all of the clues to make the exact answer combo of a specific mystery, this mix-up of final solutions should keep them guessing until the end. A lot of combos are similar, so it would be tough to remember the exact combination (but, certainly not putting it past any photographic memories out there).
All new math mysteries I make will now also contain the editable list to carry out these changes.
GRAB the multi-grade bundle of the math mystery 'Case of The Super Bad Superhero' completely FREE to try out! It also comes with the editable list and two pre-made alternative lists!
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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