Thursday, May 21, 2015

CSI Science: Case of the Kidnapped Cookies Day 1

This post is the second in a series of posts about a CSI program I ran at our library.  You can read the background information here.

As mentioned earlier, our program was advertised for 3rd through 8th graders.  At our first meeting we had the following patrons attend:

  • a 6th grade boy 
  • two 5th grade girls
  • a 4th grade girl
  • a 3rd grade boy
  • a 3rd grade girl
  • a 2nd grade girl

The 6th grade boy didn't attend after the first meeting (he was hoping to be part of an older group), but the rest of the group remained consistent throughout the 6 week program.  They were a blend of 2 homeschool students and 4 pulic school students.  And they all came from unique families - no siblings.

Because it was a small group and a young group, we did a lot of the work together.  It was a much more casual effort than it would be if I were using this in a classroom setting - we tended to keep one data sheet and just talk through the questions.

Since the "story" surrounding the crime takes place in a school and we were clearly not in that setting, I used the suggested "excuse" that I had read about the crime in the paper and thought it would be interesting to try to recreate the crime scene and solve it ourselves.  In the end, it didn't really matter what I said.  This group of kids just wanted to solve the crime, it didn't matter to them where it had come from.

 Before started the outlined procedures, I wanted to provide the group with some crime scene/forensic science terminology.  I used the Crime Scene Basics PowerPoint and student worksheets from The Science Spot, tweaked slightly.  [Side Note: If you're planning a forensic science unit (or any other unit, for that matter), I highly recommend you check out The Science Spot - Tracy has so many materials for you on her site.  It's a wonderful collection that I can't say enough about!]   Most of the students were familiar, at least on some level, with the terms, so we were able to go though it pretty quickly; and it ensured that everyone was using the same 'language'.

Day 1 of the investigation calls for an analysis of the crime scene and collection of the evidence.  The crime takes place in a kitchen - the community room attached to our library has a kitchen area, so that made things simple.  The book that comes with the kit tells you exactly what you need to do.  All of the materials are included in the kit and the set-up only took a few minutes. Perfect!

The kids really enjoyed checking the crime scene out and speculating what each of the items might be - especially those strange red marks on the envelope!

The kids did draw simple maps of the crime scene.  Because it was a pretty young group, we didn't worry about drawing it to scale.  The kids also spent some time reading through the suspect bios, but we didn't worry about taking copious notes.  With such a small group, they could all access the bios any time they needed to without any problems.

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.

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