Welcome to The Cookie Jar Mystery An exciting adventure in the world of forensic science!
The Cookie Jar Mystery is a fun, forensic science mini-course consisting of six separate modules designed to engage middle school students.In Mrs. Johnson’s classroom, a curious crime has taken place: her favorite cookie jar has been broken and not surprisingly, some of her delicious, homemade cookies have been eaten! As a scientist and teacher, Mrs. Johnson realizes that this unfortunate incident provides a “teachable moment”—an opportunity to teach students how to use the tools of forensic science, understand the crime, and find the guilty party! In The Cookie Jar Mystery, instructors and students participate in the investigation, aided by the clues and developments in the case revealed in the ongoing story of Mrs. Johnson’s classroom. Although every module moves students closer to a final conclusion and the guilty suspect, each module is fully self-contained, providing a complete science module/lab, all of the activities and assessments to support student understanding, and an engaging chapter in the story of the crime.
Module Structure in Five Easy Steps: Teaching Forensic Science
1. Overview: Easy classroom set-up, list of materials to acquire, background information for the teacher, and learning objectives.
2. More to the Story: Engaging Students:A stand-alone, read-aloud “chapter” in the ongoing story of the middle-school crime: the breaking of Mrs. Johnson’s cookie jar, the theft of cookies, and the pursuit of justice.
3. Hands-On Activities: Experiments that range from developing observation skills to fingerprint detection, understanding DNA and much, much more!
4. Data Collection and Analysis: Students develop a working theory of the crime by recording their experimental data on handy,activity-related “case notes”, then discussing their findings with their fellow classroom “detectives.”
5. Assessment, Standards, and Extensions: Strategies on how to assess student understanding, procedures and content of each learning activity are included. A standards correlation sheet clearly demonstrates how The Cookie Jar Mystery’s activities meet national standards in Science and ELA. Module extensions, resources, and additional reading are recommended in each module. Each module contains a glossary of terms introduced.
In the final module, Module 6: Law and Order—Conclusion and Mock Trial, your students will create cases to prosecute or defend their leading suspect in a role-play mock trial. The roles will be developed by students with a close association to an actual courtroom, with a strong emphasis on evidence and expert testimony by student forensic scientists. Students will consult all the data and present who they believe to be guilty based on their new knowledge of forensic science and the evidence discovered. Students will prepare a case for either the prosecution or the defense in a mock courtroom complete with judge and jury!
Each lesson comes with a complete supply list and all the handouts for each activity. Many of the supplies needed are found in most classrooms, other can be found at science suppliers or your local grocery store.In this case, a gavel is nice to have but optional.