Mystery picture

The “mystery picture” is a slideshow where most of a picture is covered by different shapes (rectangles or ovals, mainly). Students hypothesise about what they’ll see once the shapes are removed. When they see the whole picture, they can describe it and compare what they said or thought with what they see.

You can download an example of mystery picture here.

This funny activity allows us to:

  • Explore student’s previous knowledge. By asking students to describe what they can see and what they might see in the part of the picture which is covered.
  • Foster team spirit. If we ask students to work in groups, students may give each other some ideas to speculate about the mysterious part of the picture.
  • Work with vocabulary extensively. We do not only talk about what they can see, but about the whole range of possibilities in the semantic field of the picture.
  • Involve students. Mystery means interest.
  • Carry out meaningful practice in a funny and relaxed way. We go beyond describing what we can see, there’s a world of possibilities that are explored while focus is on meaning rather than on form. No nerves, just thrill.

The “mystery picture” can be created by using a simple “exit” animation effect or by using “triggers”. If we just use “exit” effects, the parts of the picture are revealed in the order we decided when we create the slideshow. Sometimes, we want to choose the order in which we show the parts of the picture. Then we need to use “triggers”, which allow us to click on the shape we want to remove. Here you can see the difference between using “normal” animation effect and using “triggers”. Slide with on-click animation. Slide with “triggers” (click on the shape to unveil what’s behind it)

You can learn how to create this slideshow using any of this tutorial (simple “exit” effect).

Tutorial to create “mystery pictures” using triggers.

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