TES Maths ROTW: Missing dog mystery

Craig Barton
25th April 2016

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Missing dog mystery

Resource author: zbaig19

What is it?

I’m always surprised at how a good maths mystery can appeal to students of all ages and abilities. I have seen even the most reluctant of Year 11s suddenly discover a burst of energy and enthusiasm when faced with a selection of clues and an interesting context. And the best part is, the students know they’re working hard and employing their maths skills, but they enjoy the activity and achieve a lot in the process.

This mystery starts with a missing dog. In trying to solve the case, learners encounter all sorts of key number skills, from fractions and rounding to place value and units of measurement.

How can it be used?

Mysteries are often reserved for the end of term. Although this is understandable, activities like this should become a regular part of a student’s mathematical diet. After all, there is no doubting that solid mathematical skills are required to crack the case. And the elements of problem solving combined with the non-routine context mean that your pupils are practising skills that are crucial for the new GCSE.

So, if you have a lesson spare, give this a go with a Year 7 or 8 class. And if you are feeling particularly brave, why not get them to take this a step further and design a mystery of their own?


Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.


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