Children work collaboratively to solve a problem from a list of clues, presented on cards.


Type 1:

Children/groups are given clues one at a time and possibilities are discussed in the group then with the class to ensure all groups are following the mystery


Activity: children have access to 1-9 digit cards and a number sentence template, e.g.



Before beginning the mystery, can the children use the digit cards to complete a correct number sentence? What if the number sentence includes a 9 digit? What if the 9 is the denominator? What if the fraction is ½? etc.

  1. Three of the digits are square numbers.
  2. Three of the digits are prime numbers
  3. The sum of all 6 digits is 28.
  4. The numerator and the denominator have a total of 11 and a difference of 3.
  5. The difference between the two whole numbers is 39.
  6. The fraction is an improper fraction.

Mysteries of this type are relatively easy to make up and both the template and the clues can be altered to fit in with the area of mathematics being covered. Other examples:

Type 2:

Children/groups are given all the clues but they are dealt evenly around the group. The children are not allowed to show their cards to each other (so must share information verbally).



Children have access to 1-9 digit cards



You are to make a row of 5 numbers.

The last number is a multiple of the first number.

All the numbers are factors of 36

The last number is a square number.

The total of all 5 numbers is 24.

When the middle three numbers are multiplied together, the result is 48.

The product of the first two numbers is the same as the product of the last two numbers.

Two of the numbers are odd.

Examples of mysteries

several examples based on

past KS2 SAT paper questions

shape and space


 mini mysteries  column of cubes  school trip mystery
 mysteries from KS2 SATs  row of shapes  sports day mystery
   logic coordinates  multiples, factors and squares


More Mysteries:

More mysteries will appear on this page as they are developed.



1-9 digit card mysteries

Who should get the maths prize?

2d shape grid

3 different mysteries using the same 2d shapes

 3 by 3 grid mystery

Tree data mystery

3d shape grid

Multiplication mystery

Fractions in a box

Row of quadrilaterals

Subtraction mystery