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Digital Mysteries: Captain Quint (Mathematics)

By Reflective Thinking

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*To create tasks like this yourself, go to*

Digital Mysteries: Captain Quint is a unique app for 9-11 year olds which allows pairs to work simultaneously on one iPad to solve a 'mystery' using mathematics. They must discuss and collaborate along the way.

Children are introduced to an engaging story about a sailing crew who are on a mission to sail round the world in 50 days. Captain Quint is the leader of this mission. When the crew set off, there is a lot of tension between them due to grudges from previous trips and races, loss of food, lack of sleep and what is going on back home. Students are asked to solve the mystery of whether they actually managed to sail round the world. In order do this, they must use their existing mathematics skills and develop new ones.

Users move through an easy-to-follow, three stage process – they must first read through slips of illustrated information, organise them into groups, then move to the final stage where they lay out the slips in a chain and use sticky tapes and notes to help make sense of everything. Although the mental arithmetic involved requires precision, the task is open ended and provides scope for pupils to come up with and justify more than one possible solution.

It maps to the mathematics curriculum topics of ‘Number – addition and subtraction’, ‘Number – multiplication and division’, ‘Number – fractions (including percentages)', ‘Statistics’ and ‘Measurement’. It could be used diagnostically within the mathematics curriculum to assess pupils’ confidence in recognising and applying these concepts.

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.

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.

How can I try other mysteries?

At the bottom of the 'app details' tab, tap ‘Developer Apps’ to view our current range. At the moment, there are apps for computing, history, geography, maths, science, citizenship and Shakespeare plays Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth’s Influences. Many more are coming soon (see for future tasks - contact us to request a specific mystery).

To see a video of Digital Mysteries being used by two students, please go to

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Digital Mysteries: Captain Quint (Mathematics)
View in iTunes
  • £0.99
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Released:
  • Version: 3.3
  • Size: 15.4 MB
  • Language: English
  • Developer:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.

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