Rogue Rodent Mystery: A Crime Scene Investigation Classroom Kit - Grades K-1
Number of Students: 30
- Number of Lessons: 10
- Additional Resources: Sample Lesson Plan PDF, Learning Tools
Can you figure out what happened to Alice the hamster? In this entertaining and intriguing class, your students will use scientific techniques to solve the mystery of the disappearing rodent.
Mrs. Hawkins safely placed the class guinea pig in her cage and set off to the cafeteria. When she returned 20 minutes later, Alice the guinea pig was gone! Mrs. Hawkins needs your class to help her track down the beloved Alice and determine who kidnapped the guinea pig.
How It Works
Students will investigate Alice’s disappearances by observing the crime scene, creating composite sketches, testing physics, and comparing shoe prints. Utilizing scientific exploration, experimentation, observation, and research your students will investigate the list of four suspects provided by Mrs. Hawkins and determine the guilty party. After 10 engaging lessons, students will declare the perpetrator and receive certificates in celebration of their work as forensic investigators.
The Classroom Kit includes the Instructor's Guide, free access to the online teacher resource website, and essential materials for up to 30 students. Student Workbooks, available separately, provide additional activities and learning opportunities.
Preparing to Teach
Instructors will find The Rogue Rodent Mystery easy and fun to teach. Each lesson provides 1-3 activities that teaches a new but related aspect of scientific reasoning and a particular scientific process. The text is easy to read and understand, the set-ups are detailed and uncomplicated, and the processes and procedures are clearly explained in each lesson plan.
The Rogue Rodent Mystery is comprised of 10 lessons, designed each to take approximately 1-hour, for a class of 30 students.
Lesson 1 - Observing the Clues: Investigation with Your Senses
In this first lesson, your students’ are introduced to the mystery of the missing guinea pig through a video taken immediately after realizing that Alice was missing. Students will also be introduced to the job of a forensic scientist and prepare to take on the role by practicing their skill of observation.
Lesson 2 - Recording Your Findings: Sketching the Scene
This lesson will challenge your students to make a rough sketch of a pretend crime scene. The focus of sketching at this stage (rough) should be the inclusion of all objects, the proper positional placement and relative size of objects in the scene.
Lesson 3 - Listening to a Witness: Creating a Composite Sketch
Students will discover that a picture can replace a long verbal description and help others better understand. In science it is very common to use pictures - photographs, diagrams and graphs – to convey your process and findings.
Lesson 4 - Analyzing Alibis: Monitoring the Movement of Suspects
In this activity, students will hear the alibis of four suspects. They will practice the skills of a forensic scientist by listening carefully to each story. Then, using matching picture cards, students will retell the details of each suspect’s story in sequential order.
Lesson 5 - Applying Physics: Studying Force and a Falling Skeleton
Students will focus on the fallen model skeleton in Mrs. Hawkins’s classroom to imagine (and predict) what happened on the day Alice was taken. By running a simple experiment, students will make a connection between a force (a rolling ball) and the resulting movement of the object (a model skeleton).
Lesson 6 - Inspecting Pattern Evidence: Comparing Shoe Prints
For this lesson, students will focus on visible, two- dimensional prints. They’ll study the visible, two-dimensional shoe prints left behind on Mrs. Hawkins’ classroom floor. Students will try to match parts of a print to a larger pattern and measure the length and width of the shoe print.
Lesson 7 - Researching Rodents: Discovering a Guinea Pig’s Survival Needs
Students will be asked to learn more about guinea pigs to better understand how Alice came to be missing. Is it possible that a suspect took Alice home? This information will be recorded in a table. Students will use the table to make arguments about the potential involvement of each suspect.
Lesson 8 - Following Colorful Clues: Making Orange Paint
In this activity, students will figure out which suspect was most likely to have left behind orange paint smudges by mixing together different primary colors of paint. Students will be challenged to follow a procedure in the correct order.
Lesson 9 - Weighing the Evidence: Testing the Scales of Justice
Students will use balances to literally weigh the evidence of each suspect against one another. Not only will this give your students a chance to use a common measurement tool in science, it will provide a visual to help them formulate their own conclusions.
Lesson 10 - Considering the Confession: Understanding Misunderstandings!
This last activity is designed to tie together any loose ends or resolve unanswered questions about the mystery. It is also designed as a celebration of the mystery solved!
The Classroom version of the Rogue Rodent Mystery contains an Instructor Guide, digital access to the Introductory Video and Teacher Resources, and all of the essential supplies needed to teach the course to a class of up to 30 students.
Every step is taken to provide an easy-to-follow format and informative, fun-to-read instructions for each lesson. In addition to a brief listing of objectives, materials, and set-up procedures, useful icons point the instructor to a number of key elements:
Notes for the Instructor: Brief instructor notes introduce the subject matter and challenges presented in the particular lesson. They often contain real-life, age-appropriate examples from crime in history or popular culture.
Notes for the Students: These notes “set the stage” for each lesson by presenting brief material to read, listen to, and discuss.
Vocabulary: New and relevant terms are defined here. Note, too, the comprehensive “Glossary” at the end of the Instructor’s Guide and Student Books.
Activity Description: Here, step-by-step procedures are provided for both the instructor’s demonstration and the students’ immersion in the activity.
Wrap-up: Discussion-provoking questions and summary-type activities are designed to revisit the day’s learning and help students take their inquiry further.
Clean-up: Clear instruction on preserving and storing materials is provided to ensure kit longevity and cost effectiveness.
Other Destinations: To extend lessons and deepen understanding across disciplinary and cultural divides, relevant links to multimedia, web resources, and fun at-home or extension activities are provided here.
The Digital Teacher Resources for the Rogue Rodent Money Mystery includes all the copy masters for student handouts, activities, lesson extensions like crossword puzzles to reinforce newly learned used vocabulary and learning aides. Links to forensic videos and other multimedia resources provide authentic lesson extensions in addition to teacher tutorials for each hands-on activity.
This video kicks off the action where students witness what happened when their teacher Mrs. Hawkins returned from a meeting one afternoon, to find their beloved classroom pet Alice missing!
Packed and labeled, each supply item and tools needed to solve the mystery is organized in a way that makes the course easy to teach again and again. Among some of these materials are: crayons, markers, paint, rulers, stickers, centimeter cubes, magic paper, skeleton figures, crime scene tape and more!
The Rogue Rodent Mystery Classroom Kit includes:
|1 x Instructor’s Guide
|1 x Access to Teacher Resources
|1 x Access to Course Video
|2 x Student pan balances
|56 x 250 mL beakers
|250 x Cm measuring cubes
|100 x Wood splints
|8 x Stress balls
|8 x Figurines
|1 x sticker set
|2 x Set of blindfolds, earplugs, bandages
|1 x Crime scene tape
|1 x 1,000 mL beaker
|16 x Spray bottles
|1 x Red tempera paint powder
|1 x Lemon scented air freshener
|1 x Blue tempera paint powder
|1 x Yellow tempera paint
|1 x Pack of index cards
|1 x plastic spoon
|1 x Crime scene envelope
|25 x Foam plates
|15 x Plastic cups
|3 x Plastic spoons
|1 x Coffee scoop
|1 x Mixing Spoon