Mysteries give students an opportunity to develop thinking skills and work collaboratively with other students. They require students to link information logically into cause and effect and justify their decisions.

Give students any appropriate background teaching that you consider they will need to make sense of the mystery. It can come in context as part of a progression of a scheme of work building upon past content or as an introduction to a new topic.

Preparation & Instructions

Students will need to be given the title of their mystery that they are to solve

· Students will be put into small groups, ideally 3, to solve the mystery. The title might be on the front of an envelope full of the statement cards.
· Give each group a copy of the mystery statements and ask them to sort them into a logical series of links.
· Tell them that most cards will have natural links to other statements, there are links of cause and effect, but there may be a few cards with no real relevance to your mystery - they are there as deliberate 'red herrings'.
· Tell them that they might be called upon to explain their reasoning and links to the rest of the group.
· Make sure each group has a fair amount of table space available to spread out and sort the statements.
· Allow them perhaps 10 minutes to work through the mystery. Be aware of early finishers and discuss their conclusions with them while giving other a few minutes longer to reach their conclusion.










How was the information sorted out?
What were the causes of the mystery?
What were the effects of the mystery?
What was the easiest aspect of the task?
What was the most difficult aspect of the task?
What are the background factors involved in this mystery?
What are the trigger factors that have lead to a consequence within the mystery?
What other information would have been helpful in solving this mystery?
Is this mystery likely to happen in real life?
Will our present actions have any impact upon the issues raised in this mystery?

Students might consider:

Their solving of the mystery, including a write up of some kind using a writing frame, if appropriate.

How they went about sorting their information.

Consider 'trigger' and 'background' factors involved in the mystery. Trigger factors are the causes that lead to a consequence. Background factors are circumstances that tend to contribute to a trigger.