While we are no longer developing Digital Mysteries and Thinking Kit, we are leaving our website up for those of you interested in the ideas behind the Apps.

Captain Quint

captain quint app       Captain Quint


       Subject:        Maths
       Topic:            Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, statistics, measurement
       Audience:     KS2
       Question:     Did Captain Quint and his crew make it round the world in 50 days?
       Author:         Anne de A’Echevarria


This mystery maps to the maths curriculum. Specifically:

  • Number – addition and subtraction
  • Number – multiplication and division
  • Number – fractions (including percentages)
  • Statistics
  • Measurement

Although the calculation involved in Captain Quint requires precision, the task is open-ended and provides scope for pupils to come up with and justify more than one possible scenario.

The mystery will challenge pupils to decide and justify to each other, which operations and methods they need to use to solve a multistep problem. As well as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, some calculations also involve fractions and knowledge of percentage and fraction equivalents. Pupils will need to interpret information in tables, graphs and maps and be able to compare and calculate different measures, involving capacity and distance over time.

It could be used diagnostically within the maths curriculum to assess pupils’ confidence in recognising and applying these concepts.

There are three difficulty levels to this mystery. Easy has 20 slips, medium has 25 slips and hard has 26. As a guide, we suggest it is most suitable for 10-11 year olds.

Learning outcomes:

  • To add and subtract numbers both mentally or with a calculator (as appropriate); to multiply and divide numbers up to 4 digits by one- or two-digit numbers using a formal written method, calculator or mentally (as appropriate) – all within a multi-step problem, deciding which operations and methods to use and why.
  • To multiply proper fractions by whole numbers; use knowledge of percentage and fraction equivalents.
  • To read and interpret information in tables and graphs including calculating and interpreting the mean as an average.
  • To compare and calculate different measures, involving capacity (ml), and distance over time (mph/knots).rate their own unique, yet easy to remember passwords.