Fun murder mystery activities

Nicola Davison, with Freya Thompson
12th July 2017
Primary student solves fun murder mystery activities

Six of the best reviewed murder mystery lessons for primary classrooms 

There's nothing more engaging than a well-crafted murder mystery activity to keep pupils motivated right up until the end of a topic or a scheme of work. Not only does it allow them to be completely immersed in their learning, but it also encourages the development of creative thinking skills and teamwork. That's why we've brought together six of the top sleuthing resources on Tes.

Murder at the hotel, with 419 reviews

What is it? Using their numeracy skills and powers of deduction, students must crack each of the five coded clues to eliminate suspects and reveal the identity of the killer. This challenging puzzle comes complete with worksheets and answers.

Users say… What a fantastic idea - thank you so much. My Y6 Set 2 Maths LOVED this - we set it up like a real crime scene, so brought it to life. Tomorrow, we're making our own version based on this. A real post-SATs treat for them; wonderful! (nooty)

Ancient Greek murder, with 88 reviews

What is it? Pupils must investigate the murder of Athenian hoplite, Agathon, using the videos and paper-based evidence in this comprehensive pack, containing an introductory presentation and a complete lesson plan.

Users say… What a fantastic resource. The children absolutely loved it and actually wanted to carry on through lunch to finish it off! Thank you (ncjhounslow)

Periodic table murder mystery, with 35 reviews

What is it? Ideal as an introduction to the basic properties of a wide range of elements, this scientific mystery comes complete with clues and red herrings to help and hinder learners on their way to discovering why Mr Sodium exploded and where the three missing guests have gone.

Users say… Fantastic resource. Must have taken you a while to put together. My class loved acting out their roles with the provided props. We have a running joke now about our 'murderers' (jlyonsphysics)

Death in the orchestra, with 13 reviews

What is it? 32 suspects. One murderer. Students must crack five English-themed clues in order to solve this musical murder case. These clues, in the form of puzzles, test your class' knowledge of antonyms, synonyms, idioms and proverbs.

Users say… So much work put into this resource - thank-you for sharing. This will keep them busy and most importantly discussing and thinking (AnneLG)

Evidence-based Tudor mystery, with 7 reviews

What is it? Pupils sift through the sources to identify the reliable evidence and find out who strangled Rickon the rather average jester in this Tudor investigation. Perfect for engaging your class in the skills of evaluating sources and questioning their validity.

Users say… An amazing resource! My class loved this as an introduction to our Tudors topic (glenda_gleds)

Maths murder mystery, with 4 reviews

What is it? Consolidate learners' understanding of calculating speed, distance and time with this maths-based whodunnit, including a helpful presentation, worksheets for making notes and an exciting extension task.

Users say… I really enjoyed this challenging lesson. Ideal for revising key topics and preparing for transition. Thanks so much! (fbthompson)

Quick links

Murder Mystery. Game Problem solving KS2-3 (7-14)

A murder has been committed! There are 32 suspects, and one of them is guilty. Using your powers of deduction, can you crack each of the five coded clues to reveal the identity of the killer?

NEW (13.02.10) ANSWERS & TIPS

By maths126

Ancient Greece Murder Mystery

This is a ‘murder mystery’ with video and paper based evidence. We filmed in front of our school green screen for a bit of a laugh, but the kids absolutely loved it. It lasts around 80 minutes comes complete with video and paper-based evidence. I suggest printing out into evidence packs.

By jonwhitley

Periodic Table Murder Mystery! Atoms and Elements

A really fun introduction to some common elements and their properties. Mr. Sodium has exploded and three other guests have gone missing at the Periodic Manor House. Can your students match chemical properties to clues in this super sleuth extravaganza! Variable group size with variable difficulty. Min group size: 13 Max group size: 30
By erhgiez

Murder Mystery - Death in the Orchestra

A murder mystery with 32 suspects. 5 clues are in the form of jigsaws. Each clue eliminates half the suspects. The clues test knowledge of a) antonyms
b) synonyms c) meaning of various idioms d) pairing up halves of proverbs e) naming the young of certain animals.
Other English resources (also available free on Tes) include: Death at the SPaG Bol; The Great British SPaG Off; The SPaG Bol Heist and The SPaG Dress Disaster
By sessa1

Tudor Murder Mystery

This is a ‘murder mystery’ with video and paper based evidence. Children sift through the different exhibits in order to discover the culprit. There are plenty of red herrings and to pick the right suspect for the right reasons requires quite a bit of careful consideration. No - it's not actual historical evidence, but the idea is more to get the children engaging with sources of evidence and questioning their validity. It lasts around 80-90 minutes. Enjoy!
By jonwhitley

Murder Mystery Adapted

I have taken a lesson from here and adpated it will be using it for a Year 5 taster session at a Secondary School. New Evidence is an extension that changes the killer. The numbers are quite easy the application is the difficult part I may well use this with classes up to KS4 depending on ability.
By Ryanroyston

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