Stories with Holes Challenge

Stories with Holes make kids ask good questions

Kids love to try to figure out “Stories with Holes”. Sometimes referred to as “one minute mysteries” or “red herring stories, they were one of the favorite activities for my students when I was teaching in the Talented and Gifted programThe stories contain 1 or more “red herrings” which are facts that are “not as they seem”.  Asking questions about facts in the story leads to the evidence needed to solve the mystery.

Take a look at the following stories I found while cleaning out old files. After our 4-6th graders got stumped a few times, they learned to ask the “right” questions. They enjoyed solving the mysteries in group setting and LOVED the competition. To get you started, I underlined the word in the first 2 examples to give you a hint to the solution. No hint for the last 3 stories.  You are on your own. Have fun!

Stories with Holes

  1. If a plane lands on the border of the US and Canada, where are the survivors buried?
  2. An airplane landed in the middle of a school playground. Children were playing all over the playground when it landed but no one got hurt.  How come?
  3. There was a tornado in Oklahoma.  The power went out and the woman went to her basement for cover.  As she was carrying the candles down the old, creaky, wooden stairs, she tripped, and the candles dropped on the stairs.  Why didn’t the stairs catch fire?
  4. Two identical twins (biologically and physically identical) go into a restaurant and each order a cup of coffee.  The contents of the cup are identical. Each twin drinks the coffee and finishes it.  One twin lives and one twin dies.  Why?
  5. A man is in the desert.  In the distance he sees a refreshment stand.  He walks in and says to the attendant, “Please, please, a glass of water.”  The attendant takes out a gun and fires three shots in the air.  The man said, “Thank you,” and left satisfied.  Why did he leave satisfied?


  1. Survivors are NOT buried.
  2. It was a paper airplane.
  3. The candles were not lit.
  4. The twins are identical twins NOT TO EACH OTHER but to two other people.
  5. The man was satisfied because he had hiccups and the gunshot scared them away.  He was not thirsty.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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