A Mystery is a collection of different data which pupils use to find a reasoned answer to a central question. The information can be text, images, objects, charts or a combination.

Thinking skills objectives

Make sure you have a thinking skill objective for the lesson.

Tell pupils what the objective is a the beginning of the lesson and refer to it throughout.

Thinking Skills you can develop through a Mystery lesson are:

  • Reasoning
  • Classification
  • Information Processing
  • Creative thinking

Task management:

A: Groupings:

  • Groups of 3 pupils works well
  • Make sure that they are sitting on the same table

B: Information Sets:

  • Can your pupils read the material
  • Is the font size appropriate
  • Are there too many cards? Too few?
  • Have you got enough challenge for the gifted and talented?
  • Have you thought about SEN?

C: Role of the teacher during the task:

  • Try not to tell the answers!
  • If a group appears stuck, prompt them by asking questions.
  • If pupils come up with too limited an answer, ask them how they could develop their sub sets further. You could always have some extra cards with different ideas to present later and prompt further thought.
  • Listen to all your groups for examples of thinking to use in the metacognitive plenary later.

D: Timings:

This will vary according to the task, group structure and numbers of cards; but usually lasts for 10 to 25 minutes.

Metacognitive plenary:

In the metacognitive plenary you need to include questions like:

  • How did you start the task?
  • How did you move on?
  • What did you do next?
  • What was hard about the task? Why?
  • Did you reject any of the information? Why?

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