What is it?
A conundrum is a puzzling question or problem in which the person trying to solve the problem may need to ask questions to gain the information needed to solve it. Conundrum sample: John and Mary are dead. They are lying in a puddle of water on the ground and they are surrounded by broken glass. How did they die? Answer: they are goldfish and their acquarium has been pushed.
Why using this activity in your lesson?
To start or end the lesson on a lighter note. This activity takes from 5 to 8 minutes and students will be engaged and motivated to find the solution for the puzzle. Also, this activity provides context and purpose to use vocabulary and grammar structures as a means to solve the puzzle and not as an end to practice specific language.
What levels? Intermediate and up. Students should be able to make questions in different verb tenses.
What are the materials needed? The conundrum provided by the teacher.
How to do it? In the 5 first or last minutes of the lesson, the teacher asks a students to get a piece of paper with a conundrum printed on it. Teacher can establish if students can ask information questions or only yes/no questions. With lower levels, the teacher can write words as hints to help students make the questions. It can be played individually or in groups.
Where can I find more conundrum samples?
Special thanks to Cátia Thonnigs and Vivian Magalhães for this great tip at Southern Cone Tesol Convention in Curitiba, 2011. Workshop: From Homemade to online games: teaching and entertaining your students.