Mystery Tours


Mystery Tours

Pupils plan a trip around the United Kingdom, handling travel data and solving a series of logic problems that use a range of mathematical content.


In a cartoon-based role play, pupils take the part of the Tour Manager of a struggling tour operator. They have to plan a fictitious trip around the UK, using tools and data provided in the software to solve a series of logic problems with a range of Mathematical content in realistic contexts. Pupils then lead a 'simulation' of the tour and write an evaluation report. There are three groups of tourists, categorised as 'Nature Lovers', 'Thrill Seekers' and 'Culture Vultures'; data is available about the preferences of each group.

Pupils work together in small groups, or individually, to create a successful trip. In the first stages of the exercise, the most important skills are working with data such as timetables and percentages. Other areas of mathematics are brought in when the trip begins. The tourists are quite demanding, and it is up to the pupils to keep them happy by solving any problems that may arise, presented algebraically or geometrically.

Mathematical content

Plan a trip to satisfy money/time constraints and to keep happy three sets of tourists with differing requirements. Convert currencies, satisfy baggage allowances etc.

Specific Key Stage 3 National Curriculum areas covered include:

  • Key processes - analyse situations using mathematical procedures; interpret, evaluate, reflect on and communicate the results.
  • Number and algebra - calculate and manipulate rational numbers; use and apply decimals, fractions and percentages; ratio and proportion; rounding and accuracy; use graphs to represent algebraic solutions.
  • Geometry and measures - use scale; units, compound measures and conversions.
  • Statistics - apply the handling data cycle; understand and use estimates or measures of probability, including those based on equally likely outcomes and relative frequency.
  • Curriculum opportunities - thinking, reasoning and problem solving; working collaboratively.

Organisation and pedagogy

The Case Study contains differentiated materials for three lessons and is designed for use with average and higher attaining learners in Years 8 and 9; it includes follow-up homework activities. It has been primarily designed for use in an ICT suite and learners should be arranged in small groups around the computers to maximise the opportunities for collaboration and discussion.

The teacher is encouraged to adopt a facilitator role, introducing the chosen activity at the start of each lesson, offering appropriate levels of support to students during group work and drawing the learning together at the end of the lesson.

Resources provided

This Case Study is in the form of a self-contained software application for use by teachers and pupils.

The "Teachers" section includes:

  • Teacher notes.
  • Supporting worksheets to print out, including a 'Tour diary' which students are encouraged to use to reflect on their own performance during the activities.
  • Detailed lesson plans for each of the three activities.

Resource requirements

(including hardware & software)

  • The software should run in any recent web browser with Adobe Flash Player installed. The recommended way to run it is direct from this website, but the complete package can be downloaded as a .zip file for offline use.
  • All lessons require a computer and data projector (or interactive whiteboard).
  • Two of the three lessons require a computer for each pair or small group of students.