The Sultan and the Cheat Lesson

Puzzle Stories

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Puzzle stories is a good tool for teachers and you can invent them for your teaching purposes, or you can start with some ready puzzle stories. So let's find them.

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From you can get to Realistic Lateral Thinking Puzzles (too bloody for me)…

In Teacher Link Newsletter January 2003 - Selected Articles
there is an article written by by Hatice Asvaroglu:


A Puzzle Story

Top The Sultan and the Cheat Lesson

As my colleague Aytul has suggested in her article, choosing
suitable comprehension passages to ELT classes is a real
challenge to English language teachers. Whenever one text
appeals to some of the students, it doesn’t appeal to the
others. She has done some good research and written out some
criteria to take into consideration when choosing reading
passages. I would like to make a contribution to her article by
writing about one of my experiences.
With the inspiration I got from last September
Workshops held by the Oregon State University, I try not to
overlook the philosophy of Multiple Intelligences when applying
reading skills in my classes in order to meet the needs of the
learners with different intelligences. I try to make a shift
from traditional reading by using puzzle stories from time to
time in my classes so that I can motivate my students to do
silent reading properly. Puzzle stories mostly appeal to
students with Logical Mathematical intelligence, but they
motivate the other students as well if they compete with each
other in groups to find the solutions. It also gives them a
chance to improve one of their weaker intelligences.
Students are first organised into groups of four. Then they are
asked to do silent reading. After that, each group tries to find
the right answers by discussing different solutions in limited
time. Then winning group is given a prize.
Here is a puzzle story I have recently used in one of my
classes. It really worked well.


The Sultan and the Cheat

Top Lesson

A Sultan ordered ten goldsmiths to make ten coins each. Each
coin was to weigh exactly ten grams of pure gold.
One of the goldsmiths was a bad man. He decided to cheat. He
made all his ten coins one gram short. Now the Sultan heard that
one of the goldsmiths had cheated. He also heard that this man
had made each of his coins one gram short.
The Sultan was a very clever person. He took a certain number of
coins from each of the smiths, weighed them together once only
and found their weight to be 540 grams. This was enough for him
to find out which one of the goldsmiths had cheated.
How did the Sultan do it and who was the cheat?

1-How many goldsmiths were there?
2-How many of them were cheats?
3-The cheat, like the others, made ten coins. How many grams
short was each coin?
4-Did the sultan find the cheat by
a- looking each man in the eye?
b- weighing coins?
c- asking his mother?
5- How many times did he weigh the coins he took from them?
6- Did he take the coins to weigh from
a- one goldsmith?
b- some of the goldsmiths?
c-- all of them?
7- Suppose he had taken all ten coins from each smith and put
them together on the scales. When he weighed them how many
grams short would they have been?
8- Would he have known that one of the smiths had cheated?
9- Would he have known that which smith had cheated?
10- Suppose he took one coin from the first smith, two coins
from the second and three from the third, how many would he
take from the others?
11- How many coins would that be altogether?
12– If nobody had cheated, what should the total weight of
these coins have been?
a- 500 grams?
b- 550 grams?
c- 600 grams?
13- How much did the coins he put on the scale actually weigh?
14- So how many of the coins on the scale were made by the
15- Who was the cheat?
Hatice Asvaroglu is an assistant head at BTMK and co-editor of
Teacher link

Below you can see a Lesson plan from Humanising Language Teaching
Year 2; Issue 2; March 2000 (it's the link above for HLT Magazine
(March 2000) - Lesson Outlines

LESSON 1 - A Puzzle Story (1)
A puzzle story

Top The Sultan and the Cheat

Dictate this story to your class:

A great storm came up and the wooden ship sank. Next day
the sea was calm. The ship's hull could be seen rolling
gently on the surface over where it had sunk.

Tell the students that they can find out why this happened by
asking you YES/NO questions.

SOLUTION: The ship's cargo was salt.
Acknowledgement: the story comes from the novel Fugitive
Pictures )

( If you want to find more good puzzle stories go to
<> and search for lateral thinking .
Plenty good stuff there.)


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