Math House Mysteries were something I learned about at a NCTM regional conference YEARS ago. The kids used to love them so I decided to update them a bit and use them again! I thought I would post the information in case anyone else wanted to try it.
Math House Mysteries are similar to whole class logic puzzles. You can create one to review any topics you want. I currently have about five different ones. Here is a link to one of them.
To play, each student is given a card (or more if necessary so that they are all used). I put the blank chart on an overhead sheet and project it to the class. I explain that these are four "houses" on a street and that as a class we have to fill in all the missing information about the families. Each student has a piece of scrap paper, a pencil, and (maybe) a calculator.
I time them to see how long it takes to fill in the puzzle, and then I have them "compete" against other classes or even against themselves the next time we play.
There are "information" clues that need to be shared early and four "starter" clues that give a specific piece of information on the board. The rest build on those four. We talk about needing to get that information first. The kids must raise their hands when they have a clue the class needs. Someone else MUST use the information in their clue to fill in a box/boxes on the board. They have to tell me exactly where the information goes on the board. For example, "The family in house number 2 has a pet tarantula named Cylinder."
- The students may not talk during the game (when not sharing their clues). The only exception is to say "repeat". I stress this rule because otherwise they tend to get very angry/loud with each other when there is a longer pause because someone doesn't immediately realize their clue is needed. The class is given a 1 minute penalty for talking out of turn.
- The student may not give an answer for the board obtained from their own clue. Someone else must use their information. (2 minute penalty)
- No guessing is allowed. Clues must have been read aloud to support all answers given. (1 minute penalty)
We always have a discussion at the end about strategy. They get better and better as the year goes on at working together.
It was difficult to put the directions into words so please let me know if you have any questions! I hope someone is able to use this!