Monday, December 21, 2015

Frankenstein Mystery

So the end of the semester craziness got the best of me, but here I am sitting getting my car's oil changed at 8AM. On my break. What was I thinking? It's all okay because I am coming to share a really fun math activity I did the Friday before Halloween. I got some inspiration from Pinterest and made it happen. What is beautiful about this activity is it can be used any time of the year, just have to tweak it a little bit. 

Here is the quick back story to this activity. It was the Wednesday before Halloween and I told my roommate, Brooke, that I wanted to do something fun in math, but I just couldn't think of anything. Earlier that week I had turned my room into a Haunted House (check that out here), so I was stumped. Brooke started looking things up on Pinterest and she came across a picture of balloons attached to crate paper. Then an idea was born.

The most important thing was the content. It was the Friday before Halloween, ya'll, I had to think of something engaging to keep the crazy under control. I was going to use this activity as a math review. because in the fifth grade you live, eat, and breathe decimals and fractions. We needed some time practicing and working with the skills we had already learned. 

I only needed 3 things for this activity to come to life. 
-crate paper
-the problems

So simple. Well, my lungs didn't think so on Friday morning blowing up 54 balloons, but it was all worth it. My roommate and I stuff the deflated balloons with the problem and the secret letters, so all I had to do at school was to blow them up! 

Now the fun, why not blow up 54 balloons and put math problems and secret letters inside? Well, let me tell you the premise of the activity. Frankenstein had a chance to be turned back into a boy if the class helped his figure out the time and place he needed to be. I mixed my class up into groups and they had 9 balloons with problems they had to solve. With each problem, they received a letter that would help the class figure out the mystery. We needed every group's letters to help Frankenstein have the opportunity to get turned back into a boy. 

The best thing about this activity from a teacher's perspective is the academic math talk that was happening between my students because they couldn't get another balloon until everyone had solved the problem! 

This activity was such a hit. BEST PART-was watching the balloons being popped. I bought my balloons at Target and they must have been some heavy-duty balloons because some of them were impossible to pop! 

Disclaimer, I did go and warn my principal that there might be some loud popping sounds coming out of my room, and that she should't worry. 

This could be used for any content area, you can decide what you want to put in the balloons. I know it is passed Halloween, but if you want to see this activity to possibly use it for your class send me an email at and I can get you the materials.

I hope you are having a relaxing break and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather!


  1. What is the answer to the riddle? Just curious.

  2. Yes, I'm curious as to what the words spelled? Do you have this one for sell as well?