This is a download of Lesson 7 in an exciting 12-unit mini classroom caper! This fun, interactive learning program, with each lesson lasting about an hour, immerses students in grades 2-3 into scientific discovery as they work to solve the mystery of the stolen funds. Kids will test their CSI skills as they work the case and discover the guilty party!
Using real laboratory techniques and materials, students create theories about the “crime” of a classroom burglary, much as real detectives (and real scientists) use their powers of critical thinking to track down the thief. Along the way, they practice this critical thinking, acquire new vocabulary, explore careers in forensics, and become acquainted with scientific procedures and processes they will encounter in their classrooms. At its core, The Missing Money Mystery is designed to spark students’ interest in science.
Bringing the Mystery to Life
Missing Money Mystery is based on the premise that a crime occurred in Mr. Mugg’s fourth grade classroom at Markwell Elementary. A canister holding the money for an upcoming geocaching field trip disappeared sometime after dismissal on a Monday afternoon. Mr. Mugg makes this discovery the following morning. He knows his students have been looking forward to this special trip which will introduce them to the natural world through a real-life treasure hunt, and he decides to undertake the investigation himself—with the help of your (the course instructor’s) students.
To launch his investigation, Mr. Mugg uses the classroom computer to learn about forensic science and the necessary activities, tools, and tests he needs to solve the crime. He shares this information with your students through a series of emails. He then locates and gathers the clues and packages and sends them in a box to your classroom. Inside this box are all the materials needed by your students to conduct the investigation, including photographs, scientific equipment and “evidence.”
Each lesson introduces new intriguing evidence, forensic techniques, and insight toward solving the Missing Money Mystery. To limit the suspect possibilities, Mr. Mugg has narrowed the suspects to four—all current students of his. Two are boys and two are identical twin girls. Together, your students work toward the most plausible scenarios and celebrate their findings in the concluding lesson with certificates honoring their work as forensic investigators.
Making the Most of Each Lesson
Instructors will find Missing Money Mystery easy and fun to teach. Each lesson provides an activity that teaches a new but related aspect of scientific reasoning and a particular scientific process. None of the labs require special handling or complicated setups. After familiarizing themselves with the lesson, vocabulary, and intended outcome of the activity, instructors set up their classroom so that it is easy for students to work in groups of two or four. Clear guidance is provided in each lesson on how to organize the demonstration area with all the relevant materials at hand. Any necessary safety precautions specific to individual lessons are also provided.
Lesson 7: Cast a Clue – Shoe Print Evidence
The guilty party had no idea what they had stepped in. Students analyze shoe prints left at the crime scene to determine if any of the suspects were there.