strategies banner

Mystery Sequence/Re-sequence


Students sequence, rank, or order a series of terms, concepts, visuals, or steps in a process, and justify the sequence.


  • Mystery Sequence/Re-sequence handout with mixed-up steps, events, or concepts
  • Mystery Sequence/Re-sequence template (English/Spanish)
  • Note cards and projected prompts in random order (if students create the steps)


  1. Organize students into groups of 2-4.
  2. Provide each group with a handout representing steps in a process, a sequence of events, important concepts, various visuals, or multiple test questions in random, mixed-up order.
  3. Students cut the handout into separate cards.
  4. Students collaborate to sequence the cards in some way (chronological order, most important to least important, ideas you know best to least, etc.).
  5. Groups re-sequence after instruction or consulting text.
  6. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Time Saver: Assign groups different topics and ask them to create separate note cards sequencing or ranking the steps, events, concepts, visuals, or test items. Have groups mix up the cards, trade card sets, and complete the strategy.
  • Time Saver: Present the steps to a process, a series of words, etc., in random order. Groups create their own set of cards by “dividing and conquering” with each student using note cards to replicate the steps (1 idea on each card). Groups then complete the activity.
  • Remind students there will be no harm or humiliation for incorrect answers because correcting mistakes is a sign of intelligence!


  • Promote access by allowing supportive peer read-alouds or offering auditory or electronic text in manageable chunks.
  • Promote access by offering auditory text or text-to-speech support.
  • Provide response support by providing the first and last step in the process and/or allowing dictating responses to a scribe.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Summarize the sequence by sketching each step or representing each idea with a visual.
    • Explain the cause/effect relationship when one card is removed from the sequence.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.