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Mathematical Whodunit?
September 30, 2012

Halloween is such a fun time of year and it’s great to try and bring some of that excitement into your classroom, I’ve never found a really good Halloween themed resource so at Number-Loving we set about trying to make some! To kick things off we have a Mathematical Whodunit, this is born out of my love (and unbeaten record) of the board game Cluedo. The setting is the hotel ‘Spooksville’, the victim is the elusive ‘Mr Black’ and there are six suspects.

The idea is that students work in groups of 5-7, each assuming the identity of one of the characters. They each get a character card which gives them answers to three questions. On their turn they can ask a fellow player one of these question. There’s also a pool of general evidence for students to look at to help them in determining who the murderer is.

The task is quite complex so depending on the class you may need to structure it for them – e.g. tell them for the first 10 minutes they have to find out about the crime itself, then for the next ten they have to find out who had a motive, then who had the means and finally who had opportunity. But if your class are quite used to mysteries and open tasks then you can probably just leave them to it! The Maths is mostly functional and includes:

• Interpreting time in 12 hour and 24 hour
• Maps and scales
• Speed, distance and time
• Reading timetables and mileage charts
• Applying logic and working methodically

In the resource I have summarised a few alternative ways to play – one idea being to get members of the department dressed up as the characters and play the game at an open evening or collapsed timetable day.

I haven’t used this with a class yet – I’m going to save it for my last lesson before Halloween, if anyone does use it I’d love to hear how it goes. You can tweet us @numberloving.

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Sharon Derbyshire

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