Back to School Math Mystery | Math Challenge | Math Enrichment 1st & 2nd Grade


Start the year building collaboration with The Case of the Mystery Teacher! This math challenge reviews addition & subtraction facts, number sense, and more!


Want to try an escape room without all the stress? Use this back to school math mystery to review beginning of the year math skills, perfect for math enrichment! In this math challenge, students will practice number sense, addition facts, subtraction facts, and fact families, all while engaged in solving a mystery!

>> Click HERE to save with the BUNDLE of 10 Math Mysteries! <<

This digital (Google Slides & Seesaw) and printable beginning of the year math review is perfect for 1st grade & 2nd grade students!

The Case of the Mystery Teacher

In this mystery, students will read a letter from Julia, a new student at Pleasant Grove Elementary. They will learn that Julia’s brother threw away the letter telling her who her teacher is this year. She needs help to figure out who her teacher will be this year! There are six possible people that could be her teacher. Students will complete challenges and earn clues to solve the mystery!

How Can I Use This Resource?

Whether you’re teaching in the classroom or teaching virtually, I’ve got you covered! For teachers in the classroom, everything can be easily printed and assigned to students. I’ve included black & white ink-friendly options, too. For teachers teaching virtually, this resource has also been converted to Google Slides and Seesaw, so you can assign everything remotely!

How Long Does It Take To Complete This Math Mystery?

I suggest using this resource over the course of one week. This will give your students with Monday through Thursday to complete all challenges (one to two per day), and then on Friday students can sift through the clues to solve the mystery. If you have time or want to plan an extra engaging day, you could also make an entire morning and/or afternoon of the whole thing and do it all at once! *Please note that doing the entire mystery in one day will take more than you probably have allotted during your math time!

Here’s a Look Inside:

  • Teacher Directions: How to implement, set-up, and use both in the classroom or digitally
  • Letter from Julia: Students will read a letter from Julia explaining how she needs help figuring out who her teacher is this year.
  • Challenge Checklist: Students will use this page to track their progress on all 5 math challenges
  • Teachers: Students will receive a list of six possible teachers and information cards about each teacher. As students earn clues, they will use them solve the mystery.
  • The Clues: After completing challenges, students will earn five clues to help them solve the mystery.
  • 5 Math Challenges: There are 3 levels for each challenge so you can differentiate as needed. Take a look below at the differentiated levels:
    • Number Sense: building numbers on ten frames (numbers to 10, 20, & 2-digit place value)
    • Addition Facts: basic facts to 10, 15, and 20
    • Fact Families: fact families within 5, 10, and 20
    • Showing Numbers Different Ways: sorting numbers by looking at ten frames, tally marks, base ten blocks, etc.
    • Subtraction Facts: facts within 10, 20, and two-digit minus one digit
  • Letter to Julia: Students will use this page once they think they’ve solved the mystery
  • Meet the Teacher! Are your students ready to see if they were right? Display this page to find out!
  • Challenge Answer Keys

Find more math mysteries below!

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