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Creating a Cluedo-Inspired Chemistry Mystery Game for Engaging Revision

Did you know that traditional methods of studying, like staring at textbooks for hours on end, might not be the most effective way to learn?

In fact, research shows that actively engaging with material through interactive methods can significantly enhance understanding and retention.

Enter the Whodunit game—a captivating and immersive way to turn mundane chemistry revision into an exciting adventure. 

In this blog post, we'll explore how to easily incorporate a whodunit mystery  into your chemistry revision sessions for enhanced engagement and fun.  So, grab your detective hat and join us on a journey to uncover the secrets of successful chemistry revision through the lens of mystery and intrigue.

The Concept of a Whodunit Game

A Whodunit game, short for "Who Done It?", is a classic mystery-solving game where players take on the role of detectives to solve a crime or uncover a mystery. Typically, players must gather clues, analyze evidence, and use deductive reasoning to identify the culprit or solve the puzzle. 

In a Cluedo ™  type Whodunit, players are also responsible for determining the murder weapon as well as the location of the crime. 

I typically prefer to design my Whodunit revision games like Cluedo ™ . In the next section I’ll explain how I do this for my chemistry classes.

Here's how Whodunit game can be adapted to fit chemistry revision:

Step 1: Identify your learning Objectives

Learning Through Play: Keeping the Focus on Chemistry

Whodunit games can be fantastic learning tools, but it's important to strike a balance. While an immersive experience is great, overly complex games can overshadow the educational aspect.

 Before diving into game design, ask yourself: what chemistry concepts will students practice or encounter while playing? This helps tailor the game to reinforce specific learning goals.

Consider when to introduce the whodunit game. You can either:

  • Use the game at the beginning of a unit to introduce new concepts. This can pique students' interest and provide a foundation for deeper learning.

  • Implement the game at the end of a unit as a review activity. This allows students to apply their knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

In my "Solve the Mystery Whodunit Games," I focus on specific units within the chemistry curriculum. For example, a game might target "Trends in the Periodic Table" or "Moles and Stoichiometry." This ensures the game directly aligns with the concepts students are learning.

Step 2: Pick Your Questions

Base your questions on the specific unit or topic you want to review. These can be multiple choice (ideal for quick sessions) or even open ended formats. I have found multiple choice the easiest to implement with a printable game open ended works well with digital games such as digital escape rooms or mystery pictures.

Also, there is no need to reinvent the wheel! You can adapt existing resources like task cards or old quizzes to fit your game. 

Once you have your learning objectives and questions in hand, it's time to create the whodunit scenario itself!

Step 3: Build the Mystery

Create a captivating story that introduces the mystery your students will solve. This narrative sets the stage for the game and hooks their interest.

Storytelling Ideas:

  • Fictional Events: You can invent a fictional scenario, like a lab accident or a missing chemical compound.

  • Historical Context: For certain topics, you can weave a story around a real-life event. For example, in The Case of the Coded Conspiracy, my students are investigating the mysterious death of Alan Turing. This approach can add an extra layer of intrigue by connecting the game to a historical scientific figure, which can act as an opening for further discussion.

Step 4 : Develop your characters

Now comes the fun part: creating your characters!

Develop a group of suspects with unique personalities, backgrounds, and connections to the central mystery. This variety adds depth and intrigue to the game.

Suspect list for chemistry whodunit revision game
The suspect list and description of suspect motives

Example: The Case of The Coded Conspiracy

For my "Trends in the Periodic Table" whodunit game, I used famous scientists and inventors as suspects. Each suspect's police profile linked their real-life interests to a potential motive.

For Example:

 Marie Curie's Motive: Consider Marie Curie, one of the suspects. Her motive is that she feared Alan Turing's (the victim's) research into radiation might expose unknown risks, a field Curie dedicated her work to.

This ties her potential motive directly to the concept of radiation and its properties.

This way students can learn a little about these historical figures while playing. I let them know that the characters are based on real scientists and inventors.

Step 5: Choose Your weapons and the Crime Scene

Once you have your suspects and their motivations figured out, it's time to choose the "weapons" and "crime scenes." The number you pick depends on the number of questions you have in your game.

Aim for the number of suspects, weapons, and crime scenes to match the number of questions you have.

For Example: 

If you have 12 multiple-choice questions, create 5 suspects, 5 weapons, and 5 crime scenes. This ensures you have enough options to keep the mystery engaging.

Choosing this number ensures that after eliminating the true culprit, weapon, and scene, you have 12 remaining options that act as "red herrings," leading students down incorrect paths and adding a layer of challenge.

Step 6: Write Your Elimination Clues

This step might be the most time-consuming, but it's crucial for a successful whodunit game: writing elimination clues.

You'll need to create elimination clues for each – suspect, weapon, and crime scene.  Therefore, if a student answers correctly they can eliminate a character from their list and are one step closer to solving the mystery.

A basic clue could be something like "Marie Curie is not responsible for the murder" there fore , students can cross Marie Curie off of their suspect list.

To create a richer experience, you can craft detailed clues that paint a clearer picture. For example, "Security footage places Marie Curie at a conference 500 miles away at the estimated time of the murder."

multiple choice questions for trends in the periodic table for chemistry revision
Evidence Cards

I usually opt for the latter.  


While detailed clues are more engaging, they also take more effort.

However, do not feel pressured to be so detailed. Simpler clues can be just as effective, as long as they clearly eliminate options and help students solve the central mystery. 

Chemistry whodunit game for revision of trends in the periodic table

Ultimately, you get to decide the level of detail you want. You can even mix and match! Use simpler clues for some options and more detailed ones for others.

Step 6: Choose the culprit (perpetrator, weapon and crime scene)

Once all elimination clues have been chosen , it's time to determine who will be your perpetrator, your crime scene and the weapon. These clues should only be used as distractors and should not be associated with the correct answers.

Step 7: Integrate Chemistry Problems

Students select the answer they believe is correct, from a list of multiple options.  Each correct answer will have an elimination clue next to it. This clue helps students understand why a particular option (suspect, weapon, crime scene) can be ruled out.


For the question below, the answer is C. Based on the evidence associated with C the Gala Dinner can be eliminated as a location for the crime as none of the suspects were present at the time the crime was committed.

The atomic number of an element X is 9

So here's the catch, If a student selects an incorrect answer, they might unintentionally eliminate the actual suspect, weapon, or crime scene (remember in Step 6 when we used these as distractors?)

Since eliminating the wrong option leads to an incomplete solution, the game itself acts as a form of self-assessment. Students will struggle to identify the correct perpetrator, weapon, and crime scene if they make multiple mistakes.

Step 8: Completing the Activity

Once students have answered all questions, they can come to you with their deductions.

If students have correctly solved the mystery this confirms that their answers are all correct. They can move on to whatever other activity you have planned.

If their answers are wrong, you can guide them to find their mistakes. You have two options:

  • Backtracking: Ask them to revisit the evidence cards and figure out where they went wrong in their deductions.

  • Answer Key: If time is short, you can offer them the answer key to review their responses.

 Once students have correctly solved the mystery , I try to give them a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to read a final police report I have prepared.

This report details the perpetrator, their motives, the evidence against them, and the full story of the crime. It gives students a sense of completion and adds to the immersive experience of the activity.

You can Purchase My Whodunit Mystery Games from My TPT store.

Suggestions for Using the Whodunit Mystery Game In your Chemistry Class

Create Anticipation for Revision

Building Anticipation: Setting Up the Whodunit Review

The night before, I email students the suspect profiles and the police report. The police report describes the victim, possible weapons, and the crime scene. The suspect profile (motives) lists each suspect (usually a prominent scientist or inventor) and their possible motives.

By sending the materials beforehand, I build excitement for the mystery. My students are always eager to solve a whodunit, so this pre-reading generates a buzz for the upcoming activity.

Alternatively, you can hand out the case file (police report and suspect profiles) as students enter the classroom. This approach allows them a few minutes to read through the materials before diving into the game.

Evidence Stations

The evidence cards, each linked to a multiple-choice question, are placed at different locations around the classroom. This encourages students to move from station to station, actively collecting evidence to solve the mystery.

If space is limited, you can  print all evidence cards i.e. all multiple choice questions for each student or each student team.

They  can then work through each question at their desks. However, I generally avoid this method as it can be boring for students.

Encouraging Movement:

There's no specific order for students to answer the questions. I encourage them to move around the classroom to collect evidence and avoid crowding at any one station.

Multiple Groups (Optional):

If you have enough supplies, consider printing and laminating multiple copies of each card. This allows you to place more than one card at each station, enabling several groups to work at the same location simultaneously.

Timed Revision

Students can be placed in teams (no more than 3 students) to work on the problems, or they can work individually.

To create a more competitive atmosphere, you can offer prizes like bonus points for the first 10 students who solve the mystery or the first group to solve it within 20 minutes. Adding time restrictions can also discourage students from lingering at one station for too long.

Whichever method you choose, ensure that time is set aside afterward to go through the answers and engage in a class discussion.


The Whodunit game format injects an element of excitement and intrigue into chemistry revision, capturing students' attention and motivating them to actively participate in the learning process. Unlike traditional study methods that may feel tedious or monotonous, the game's immersive storyline and interactive challenges create a sense of adventure and suspense, enticing students to delve deeper into the world of chemistry. By transforming revision sessions into thrilling detective missions, the game format ignites students' curiosity and enthusiasm, fostering a positive attitude towards learning and increasing overall engagement levels.

Here are the Whodunit Games Ready to print and Use in your chemistry class:


Alan Turing was found dead, students are required to answer questions on trends in the Periodic Table to gather evidence and solve the mystery


Who Killed Charles Darwin? Students solve problems on moles , molar mass and stoichiometry to solve the mystery.


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