Minute Mysteries for ESL Classes

You can use these as a warm up activity in ESL classes.

This is fun to play with two people. One person looks at the answer. The other person tries to guess the situation by asking yes/no questions.

(1) A man is lying face down in the desert with a pack on his back. He is dead. How did he die?

(2) Mike lives on the tenth floor of an apartment building. Every day on the way to school he rides the elevator from the tenth floor to the ground floor. On the way home from school, he takes the elevator to the third floor and walks up the stairs to the tenth floor. Why?

(3) A man on his way home sees a man with a mask who is holding a threatening object. The first man takes one step back, and knows that he is safe. Why?

These were taken from a handout I received in Grade 9, so I can’t credit the original writer.



(1) The man had just jumped out of a plane and the pack was a parachute that failed to open.
(2) He is too short to reach the button for the 10th floor.
(3) The men are playing baseball. The first man steps back onto third base while the catcher holds the ball at home.