First Day of School? Don’t Pass Out Books – Problem Solve!

mystery-photo I first published this post at the start of the 08-09 school year.
It’s since been revised, updated and reposted here:
First Day of School? Here’s How to Get Students Thinking
Follow the link to two great activities you can use anytime of the school year.

5 Replies to “First Day of School? Don’t Pass Out Books – Problem Solve!”

  1. I used the bank robbery mystery today in my AP Spanish class. It worked beautifully! I translated all the clues to Spanish. All the students spoke Spanish and worked together for the entire class period. That’s exactly what I want to see all year. Thanks!

  2. Andrea,

    I define creativity as “a new combination of existing materials.” That’s exactly what you did! Glad you were able to foster the interaction – hopefully that will continue!

    You might take a look at this simple decision-making model. It generates loads of discussion – I bet it would work well in Spanish.


  3. I have seen another simple version of this type of things. Thanks for sharing!
    Here it is:-
    1. The health centre, including the dentist’s surgery, is ten minutes’ walk from the school.
    2. Phil Pockets was with the Head from 13.13 to 14.15.
    3. The robbery was discovered during the afternoon break.
    4. The takings for Friday are normally around 25€
    5. The tuck shop is open during all breaks and during the lunch hour.
    6. Nick Toften left to go to the dentist during afternoon registration.
    7. Mr Mortar, one of the home room teachers, was ten minutes late for afternoon registration.
    8. Lunch hour ends at 13.30
    9. The tuck shop is next to the office.
    10. Phil Pockets was seen in the local cafe at lunchtime, treating his friends.
    11. Nick’s father picked him up in the car at 13.25 and brought him back at 15.00
    12. Phil Pockets was absent during the morning.
    13. Fred is in Mr Mortar’s registration group.
    14. The dentist re-opens after lunch at 13.30.
    15. There was one 5€ note left in the cashbox at the start of the afternoon break.
    16. Mr Mortar is often unpunctual.
    17. Afternoon break is between 14.15 and 14.30.
    18. It was Phil’s birthday; he has been given 15€
    19. Fred collected the register from the school office as the bell went at 13.30.
    20. Phil Pockets was sent out of class at 13.30 for misbehaviour.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Lisa. Is there any other “set up” information that a teacher would need to use this with a class? Or how about the answer? You’re making me think!! 😉

  5. Here’s the set up:
    Who stole the tuck shop takings?
    When and how was it done?
    Approximately how much money was taken?

    And Answer:
    Nick Toften stole 20€ sometime before 13.25

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