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What makes a Good Resource - Mystery Problems

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 26 August 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 30 September 2010 by ncetm_administrator

What Makes a Good Resource

Mystery Problems

Resource description:


These are examples of mystery-type problems which have been adapted for less able pupils but still provide a challenge and allow them to use ideas they have learned previously. Mysteries are engaging activities which not only allow that essential practice of skills but also provide the teacher with a tool to assess a pupil’s understanding.

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Teacher comment:

Mysteries provide a different approach and are ideal for pupils with limited or poor presentation skills. In addition these can promote group work. Some of this work evolved from the functional skills agenda where pupils need to develop problem-solving skills. Some of the published materials which I had were not easily accessible for lower-ability pupils so I decided to adapt them.

What I did:

I designed a series of team problem for pupils to at lower levels of attainment. All the games are designed for pairs and may need TA support with reading.


This style of working can be a useful as a tool for assessing pupils by eavesdropping on misconceptions. In most cases I produced a “record sheet” for pupils to complete as they work on the problem and this is used to arrive at the final solution. With more-able learners or when they become more experienced in solving problems, this can be removed and part of the activity will be to find ways to record and collate data.

Special Educational Needs

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