A cryptic instruction activity demands intense concenration of the student, who has to listen to, or read, a list of instructions while performing mental arithmetic and logic in order to reach a correct final answer. Cryptic instruction test the skills of reading/listening for detail and specific information, and also test short term memory of names and numbers (unless notes are taken). Examples of easy and difficult cryptic instruction activities, which might be used as a warmer or filler, are as follows:
Simple cryptic instruction:
- Think of a number from one to ten.
- Multiply that number by nine.
- If the number is a two digit number, add the two digits together.
- Subtract five.
- Work out which letter of the alphabet corresponds to the number you are thinking of i.e. number 1 represents letter "A", "2" represents b, "3" c, etc.
- Think of a country that starts with that letter.
- Remember the last letter of the name of that country.
- Think of an animal which starts with that letter.
- Take the last letter of the name of that animal.
- Think of a fruit that begins with that letter.
- Let me guess, you´re thinking of a Kangaroo in Denmark eating an orange...
Complicated cryptic intruction
- Write down the number that represents a quarter of a century.
- Under this number write the number of decades in a century.
- Only follow the next instruction if the city of London isn´t in the north of the UK.
- Under the last number write the number of seconds in a minute.
- Write the number of hours in a day under the last figure if the first and second numbers you wrote total less than 30.
- Add all the numbers you have written, and multiply the total by 2; this new number is called the "new number".
- If the city of Shanghai isn´t in China, don´t follow the next instruction.
- Divide the total number by 10; this is called the Shanghai number.
- If Russia isn´t a European country, write down the number of fingers you have on you hands, if it is, write down the number of thumbs you have on both hands. Write this number away from the other numbers; this number is called the Russian number.
- Keeping a copy of the Russian separate, copy the Russian number down below the Shanghai number and add them together; this figure is called the Asian number.
- Go back to the Russian number; subtract from it the number of wheels there are on a bicyle if dogs don´t chase cats, or add the number if they do.
- The result is called the final number; add it to the Asian number.
- Divide the final number by 2 if today is a (not today); if it isnt subtract 1.
- And the result should be the same number as 6 times 6... ; is it?