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Digital Mysteries: Where does Pebbles live? (Science)

By Reflective Thinking

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Digital Mysteries: Where does Pebbles live? is a unique app for 8-11 year olds which allows pairs to work simultaneously on one iPad, solving a science ‘mystery story’. They must discuss and collaborate along the way.

The task is mapped to the science and English curriculum and can be used to support ‘Evolution and inheritance’ or ‘Animals, including humans’.

Children are introduced to an animal called Pebbles, although they are never told what kind of animal he is. They are given slips of illustrated information which give clues to the general area he lives, what he eats and what characteristics he has. The students must read these and sort through the facts together to work out the answer to “Where does Pebbles live?”

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 question is open-ended, students learn lots of useful information along the way, all while developing key skills of collaboration and problem-solving.

Following this process, students can then go through the Reflection Stage. This allows them to play back what they have done, discuss their choices and share with others what they thought during the process and whether after reflection, they still think the same. This can be done alone, in their groups, with their teacher or as a whole class. A PDF report is also generated as a summary of the session, and is available to print or share.

Some specific learning goals of this mystery are listed below under subjects:

Science (particularly for 10-11 year olds)

Exploring how animals, such as the Arctic Fox, have adapted to their environment. The mystery could be used as a precursor to further research. The learners will, of course, be keen to work out who Pebbles is exactly, which could lead to an exploration of a range of different adaptations across different habitats and analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations.

Science (particularly for 8-9 year olds)

This resource could also be used to support revising the concept of food chains by identifying the food chain embedded in the mystery, prior to constructing a variety of other chains; identifying producers, predators and prey.


Relevant learning objectives might include:

*To take turns in speaking
*To relate their contributions to what has gone on before, building on the ideas of others
*To take different views into account
*To extend their ideas in the light of discussion

Thinking skills

Learning objectives relating to the generic thinking skills that the mystery aims to develop might include:

*To justify ideas with reasons
*To form a well-structured explanation
*To speculate and draw inferences from information

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 a Shakespeare bundle. 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

What's New in Version 3.5

Minor bug fixes

iPad Screenshots

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Digital Mysteries: Where does Pebbles live? (Science)
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Education
  • Updated:
  • Version: 3.5
  • Size: 19.5 MB
  • Language: English
  • Developer:

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

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