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.