Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CSI Science: The Case of the Kidnapped Cookies

This post (and the ones that follow) has been in the works for a long time.

Quite a while back, I got in touch with the folks at Educational Innovations (I've written about them before, here) and we began talking about a possible collaboration.  Last spring, I was finishing up a series of science club programs at our local library (where I work part time), and the folks at Educational Innovations decided they'd like to provide something for me to use with a future science club.

The conversation was tabled for a bit, as I had already established my plans for last summer, and I wasn't planning any science programming for the fall.  When we began talking again, it was decided that Educational Innovations would provide me with a Case of the Kidnapped Cookies Kit to use with a group of kids at the library, to be used this spring.

Somewhere in the middle of our planning, communication got cut off for a time.  Since, for a time, I wasn't sure if I was going to receive the product or not, I started looking at alternatives, since I still had some programming hours that needed to be filled.  There are lots of forensic science lesson plans out there, and I knew I could come up with a story and pull several different CSI techniques/elements into it,  but I really was hoping to find something that had everything pulled together for me.

I eventually found, and was able to get my hands on, Mystery Festival: Teacher's Guide (Gems) , which was exactly what I was looking for - it was a whole CSI unit, with the story already written, materials lists, and a comprehensive list of what prep work needed to be done for each day of the unit.  Perfect, except it was still a lot of work and I wasn't really feeling up to putting that much effort into this series of programs.

But, I was in luck - communication with Educational Innovations resumed and my kit arrived quickly after that.  After spending the time looking into what it would take to pull together my own unit, it was so fabulous to open the box and have everything ready and waiting for me!

Picture from  Educational Innovations.  The contents in mine were packaged slighly differently, but the same materials were included.  
This kit is intended to be used over the course of 5 days (more if you wish to stage a trial at the end); and is intended to be a cross-curricular undertaking.  Each day includes multiple lessons - one to be completed in science class, the other one or two to be completed in other classes - math, English, Spanish, social studies.

I scheduled 5 meetings of our group to work our way through the different lessons and come to a conclusion.  We advertised the program as being open for 3rd - 8th graders.  It probably would have been ideal to keep the group to the older end of that range, but, as a rule, we struggle to get that age group to participate in library programs.

I'm going to break down what we did each day and how it went in some additional posts, so this doesn't get too long.

The Case of the Kidnapped Cookies Kit was provided to me at no cost, for use with a group of students at my library.  I was not compensated by Educational Innovations in any other way, and all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Karen, we had no idea you'd written this fabulous series of blogs on our product! So very glad to have helped you and your students this past spring. Infinite thanks for helping us spread the word about our company's products.

    If you haven't checked us out lately, please stop by! We are developing free lessons and NGSS correlations for many of our science materials -- not to mention free newsletters with activities, videos, discussion starters and more.

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