Reviewing Math Concepts Using a Fun Activity Called Solve the Mystery

Do you want fun math activities that are engaging?  These Solve the Mystery activities are a great way to review at the end of a unit, as a spiral review, before the state test, or at the end of the year.  They are also great to use around the different holidays throughout the year.  

Prep for this activity:

Print out the story to read to the class or you could project it onto your smartboard.

Print out the task cards.  I printed 3 of each in color or black and white.  I laminated them so I could use them several times without having to reprint them each time.  Put these around the room so the students have access to them.  

You can also print out the signs and hang them where each task cards are located.

Print and cut out the clue cards.  You will need a clue card for each group of students.  I put these in envelopes according to the task they go along with.  Put these near where you are going to be grading.  This way, when students’ answers are correct, you can give them the clue that corresponds with the task they just complete.  I also laminated these as well in order to reuse them each year.

Finally, print the answer key for the tasks and the answers to who, when, and where.

In class:

Put students into groups and pass out the student clue sheets and answer sheets.

Read the story and explain the activity.  Students can start at any task card they would like, collaborate with their group, and bring answers to you to grade.   If they have the correct answer, you give them a clue for that task.  They take the clue and cross off the who, when, and where on their student clue sheet.  When groups have finished all the tasks and collected all of the clues, they will only have one person, place, and time left on their clue sheets.  They write this down and bring it to you.  I usually give out candy for the groups that finish.

If a group gets a task wrong, you can simply tell them they are wrong and they have to find their mistake.  If they come back up and are still wrong, you could tell them which part is wrong and again, have them go fix their mistake.  If the group still can’t figure it out, then you can give them some hints like “remember what you have to do when finding the area of a triangle”.  These strategies can help slow some of the fast groups down or speed up some of the groups that might be behind.

Once students have completed a solve the mystery, they will be asking for more. They will get excited when they walk into the room and discover that the activity for math that day is to do a solve the mystery.

If you are interested in trying a solve the mystery, click on the grade level you are interested below.

6th Grade          7th Grade

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