Math Mysteries for 1st & 2nd Grade

I want to start by sharing just a little backstory about where I came up with these math mysteries…

Because 2020 was the year we stayed home so much, my husband and I started having more date nights at home. We had to get creative, and we discovered one of our new favorite activities… crime scene investigations! What better way to spend date night than solving a cold case together?

Of course, this sent my creativity into high gear. Wouldn’t it be fun to solve mysteries in your classroom? What if those mysteries could be used for both in-person learning and teaching virtually? Could these work for first and second grade? I knew I had to get to work!

Say Hello to Math Mysteries!

I’ve spent the beginning of 2021 designing math mysteries that are perfect for you to use with your first and second graders!

Let me walk you through one of those math mysteries I’ve created! Plus, I’m sharing a free one here!

Image shows the contents of the mystery resource

Introducing the Math Mysteries

In this mystery, students learn from Detective Scout that a zoo animal broke into the concession stand last night and ate all of the food! There are six possible suspects, but we don’t know which one is guilty!

Image shows the suspects included in the math mysteries

Detective Scout wrote up a few notes about each of the zoo animals that the students will need to analyze as they earn clues.

The Challenges

In order for the students to solve the mystery, they must complete four challenges. After correctly completing each challenge, they earn a clue! Because this is the addition mystery, students have four different addition challenges to complete.

Image shows the printable worksheets for the math mystery challenges

All of the challenges come in 3 levels for easy differentiation. These challenges are also available as digital resources, so students working remotely can easily access them using Google Slides or Seesaw!

The Clues

As students complete the challenges, they also earn clues to help them solve the mystery. While clues are easy to print and use in the classroom, I wanted to make sure our digital learners had a fun way to access the clues, too!

Here’s how it’s set up for digital learning!

Image shows how students can access clues during virtual learning

Once students have completed all the challenges, accessed the clues, and sifted through the evidence, they can solve the mystery! In this mystery, students write a short letter to Detective Scout telling him which animal broke into the concession stand.

Image shows the printed version of the clues.

When you’re ready, I’ve included a final GUILTY display poster you can reveal to your students so they can see if they were right!

Are You Ready?

Are you ready to solve some mysteries with your students?! I have TEN math mysteries to choose from, but you can get a FREE math mystery here!

Hoping to spice up your small groups or your guided math routine? Check out this blog post with 3 tips to refresh your small groups!

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