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Mastering Math:

A Sherlock Holmes Problem Solving Mystery

Bad Wolf Press provides fun and easy musical plays for K-9 classrooms

*  Bring your curriculum, your classroom to life
*  Absolutely no musical talent/ability needed!
*  Catchy melodies, dumb jokes, interesting stories
*  Everything you need at one low price
CLICK HERE to see Common Core Standards & Vocabulary for this play.
CLICK HERE to read Teacher Reviews for this play.

 

Casting

Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Bicycle Store Clerks, School Kids, etc. as desired.
One student can easily play several roles if needed. Note that all roles
can be played by either boys or girls.

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:

Sherlock Holmes
Dr. Watson
Clients
Bankers
Bicycle Store Clerks
Brother
Three Sisters
Passersby School Kids
Math Teachers
and a CHORUS composed of all students who are not
playing roles on stage at the time.

This show also requires the use of an overhead projector
in several scenes, and we recommend that one student be
chosen to put the transparencies in place at the
appropriate moments. (See pages 49-53.)

(Class faces audience and sings)

Song 1:    

CLASS:
This is a show about Sherlock Holmes 
And how he got his start
This is a show about Sherlock Holmes
And how he got so smart.

This is the story of Sherlock Holmes
And his first mystery
This is the story of Sherlock Holmes
So sit back and you’ll see—

He’s mastering math
Mastering math
It’s just a matter of finding the path
Mastering math
He learns more each day
He’s problem solving the problems away.

He’s mastering math
Mastering math
It’s just a matter of finding the path
Mastering math
He learns more each day
He’s problem solving the problems away.

(SINGERS can lean left and then right, or wave their
hands to each side, as they sing the following lines.
Make it silly!)

Oooh
Aaaah
Oooh
Ohhh
Oooh
Aaah
Oooh
Ohhh

He’s mastering math
Mastering math
It’s just a matter of finding the path
Mastering math
He learns more each day
He’s problem solving the problems away.
He’s solving the problems away.

(SHERLOCK HOLMES is walking around a room looking
at things through what should be a large magnifying glass.
WATSON enters.)

WATSON: Ah, there you are Holmes. What are you examining?

HOLMES: Come over here, Dr. Watson. I’ve discovered
something most peculiar. Everything I see through this magnifying
glass looks the same.

WATSON: How odd. May I have a look?

HOLMES (hands it over to WATSON, who begins to look):
No matter where I point it, I see the same thing. It’s like some
silly face is staring back at me.

WATSON: This isn’t a magnifying glass. It’s a mirror.

HOLMES: It is?

WATSON: Take a look.
(Hands mirror to HOLMES, who looks into it)

HOLMES: Aaaach. By Jove, you’re right! I never knew I
had such large nostrils. It’s horrifying.

WATSON: Nonsense,
Holmes. You have perfectly normal nostrils. Delightful nostrils.
British nostrils!

HOLMES: Don’t try to cheer me up. I’m just not getting the
hang of this detective stuff.

WATSON: You’ll make a wonderful detective. You just need
more practice. What do you say we do some word problems?

HOLMES: No, please, Watson. You know what happens.

WATSON: Just one. Really, you can do it. Here. A train
leaves London going west at forty miles an hour. Another train
leaves on the same track from fifty miles west of London going
30 miles an hour. How long is it before they hit each other.

(HOLMES is silent. He looks as if he is thinking deeply—
or in great pain—but he is not moving. After a few seconds,
WATSON speaks.)

WATSON: Holmes? Holmes?

(HOLMES passes out, collapsing on the floor.
WATSON revives him.)

WATSON: Wake up. Come on, let me help you up.

HOLMES: It’s no use. No one will hire me as a detective.
I’ll never learn how to solve problems:


Song 2:    

I, I just want to solve a mystery 
What a great detective I could be
But when problems have a number
I cannot get any dumber.

CLASS (suddenly sitting up straight and facing audience) :
Woh oh oh oh oh oh
Woh oh oh oh oh oh

HOLMES:
I, I just want to solve a mystery
Solve a famous crime or two or three
But my brain just stops and fidgets
When I have to work with digits.

HOLMES and WATSON:
I don’t know what to do
I haven’t got a clue.
My palms get cold and wet
My eyeballs, my eyeballs, my eyeballs start to sweat.

I, I just want to solve a mystery
What a great detective I could be
But when problems have a number
I cannot get any dumber.

HOLMES, WATSON, and CHORUS:
I don’t know what to do
I haven’t got a clue.
My palms get cold and wet
My eyeballs, my eyeballs, my eyeballs start to sweat.
My eyeballs, my eyeballs, my eyeballs start to sweat.

(Three CLIENTS enter.)

CLIENT #1: Is one of you Sherlock Holmes?

HOLMES: I am. Unless you’ve come to repossess my hat.
In that case… (points to WATSON) …HE is.

CLIENT #2: We need your help, Mr. Holmes.

HOLMES: You do? Are you sure?

CLIENT #1: There has been a crime.

CLIENT #3 (dramatically): Oh, the horror!

CLIENT #1 (trying to ignore #3, addressing HOLMES):
And we need you to solve it.

CLIENT #2: We work for the King of Plutopia. A Top
Secret Document has been stolen from the royal vault.

CLIENT #3: Oh, the horror!

CLIENT #2 (giving #3 a look, then to HOLMES):
And we must get it back immediately.

HOLMES: What’s in the document?

CLIENT #2: How should we know?

ALL THREE CLIENTS (shout): It’s a secret!

CLIENT #1: The thief left behind a clue.
(producing a large key)
A key to a safe-deposit box in the Bank of London.

WATSON: Why don’t you just go to the box and open it?

CLIENT #2: There’s no number on the key. And there
are thousands of boxes.

CLIENT #3: Oh, the horror!

CLIENT #1 (#1 and #2 stare at #3):
But also the thief left a note with a puzzle telling us the
number of the box.

HOLMES: Did you say a puzzle? Oh, the horror!

CLIENT #2: Here’s what the note says. (reading)
“The prince is now 11 years old. The king is 35.
How old was the prince when his father was four times older?”

(HOLMES has that pained look again)

WATSON: Holmes?

(HOLMES passes out. WATSON helps him revive.)

CLIENT #1: Can you help us?

HOLMES: Are you crazy? It could take months to solve. Years, even.

CLIENT #2: Why don’t you try the Guess and Check method?

CLIENT #3: Oh, how fun! I guess 6.

CLIENT #1: It’s not 6.

CLIENT #3: How do you know?

CLIENT #1: I just know.

CLIENT #2: The Guess and Check method can help us figure
it out. Let’s try some numbers.

(The problem appears on the overhead. As each number is
“tried out,” we see it on the overhead.)

Song 3:    

CLIENT #2: 
Take a shot
Try a 10
That’s too high?
Then try again.

CLIENT #3: How ’bout six?

CLIENT #1: That’s too low.

CLIENT #3: Not a six?

CLIENT #1: I told you so!

CLIENTS:
Guess and check
Guess and check
Don’t use hunt and peck
Grope and hope leaves things a wreck
Zero in with guess and check.

Try a nine
Let’s explore
Still too high?
Then try once more.

How ’bout eight?
Take a look
Hey it works
You’ll catch the crook!

Guess and check
Guess and check
Don’t use hunt and peck
Grope and hope leaves things a wreck
Zero in with guess and check.

HOLMES: The answer is eight! Amazing. Come on, Watson.
Let’s get to the bank and check out safe-deposit box
number eight.
(To CLIENTS)
We’ll be back in a flash with the document.

(CLIENTS exit. HOLMES and WATSON walk across stage,
and then back to where the BANKERS have entered.)

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

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