Missing Money Mystery: An Introduction to Forensic Science Classroom Kit - Grades 2-3
- Number of Students: 30
- Number of Lessons: 12
- Additional Resources: Sample Lesson Plan PDF, Teaching Tools
In this fun and interactive program, students will dive into forensic science and solve the mystery of their missing field trip money in 12 lessons. Kids will test and develop their CSI skills as they work the case and discover the guilty party.
The 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 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, so he decides to undertake the investigation himself—with the help of your students.
How it Works
Your students must work together to aid Mr. Mugg, the classroom teacher, in identifying the culprit from four suspects by collecting shoe prints, identifying fibers, cracking cryptic codes, and charting soil samples. Each lesson introduces intriguing new evidence, forensic techniques, and insight toward solving the Missing Money Mystery. Together, your students will solve the mystery and celebrate their findings in the concluding lesson with certificates honoring their work as forensic investigators.
The Classroom Set 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 Missing Money 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.
Lesson 1: Figuring Out Forensics - Organization and Observation
A mysterious "bag of stuff," and some peculiar foreign coins launch learners on the trail of a fugitive from justice. Explore the power of description in this exciting introductory lesson.
Lesson 2: Securing the Scene – Collecting Evidence
Wrongdoers, beware! Learners visit the scene of the crime and use real forensic techniques (such as triangulation) to begin the search for trace evidence that will point to a thief!
Lesson 3: Powder Power - Solutions or Suspensions?
Don’t let our sneaky cash-snatcher get away! The plot thickens (and so do some solutions—or are they suspensions?) as students experiment with different mysterious white powders.
Lesson 4: Natural or Not - Fiber Identification
Weave together the threads of a crime in an activity that allows learners to practice a proven technique in forensic fiber analysis. Then put on your deerstalker and set your Sherlockian sights on classifying the evidence. It's elementary, dear Watson!
Lesson 5: Tracking the Tires - Tread Patterns
The plot thickens as Mr. Muggs asks his students to examine the strange pattern of tire tread evidence discovered outside his window. Can you figure out who rode the getaway bicycle?
Lesson 6: Digging for Dirt - Soil Samples
Another form of trace evidence gets the "detective treatment" in this fascinating lesson, as learners explore the work of forensic geologists and sort through soil samples, and chart their observations in their detective notebooks!
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.
Lesson 8: Crack the Code - Cryptograms
It may not be quite as challenging as the DaVinci Code, but the coded message left on Mr. Mugg's desk just might point to a clever thief. Learners uncover many secrets of the alphabet (and of master criminals!) in this deciphering activity.
Lesson 9: Lifting Lips - Lip Prints
Does our crook have a crooked smile? Learners "lift," classify, and compare their own lip prints in order to unlock the patterns of this unique form of evidence.
Lesson 10: Proof in Profiling - DNA Identification
The case is nearly cracked when students compare strands of suspects' DNA, and begin to close in on the real culprit. This authentic investigatory procedure explores genetic markers.
Lesson 11: Suspicious Statements: Means, Motive and Opportunity
Students take a careful look at the letters each suspect wrote in the beginning of the year to see any possible connections between their interests and the classroom crime.
Lesson 12: Case Closed: Analyzing the Evidence
Students test their analytical skills when all of the evidence is laid on the table—and will lead our detectives to point their collective fingers at the guilty party: mystery solved!
The Classroom version of the Missing Money Mystery contains an Instructor Guide, digital access to Teacher Resources, and all the essential items needed to teach 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 Teacher Resources for the Missing 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.
Packed and labeled, each supply items and tools needed to solve the mystery organized in a way that makes the course easy to teach again and again. Among some of these materials are: foreign coins, soil samples t dropper bottles, printing powder, bike tire samples, powder samples, fiber sample and more!
The Missing Money Mystery Classroom Kit Includes:
|1 x Instructor’s Guide||1 x Access to Teacher Resources|
|1 x Tire Sample||15 x Hand lenses|
|4 x Fabric samples||1 x Crime Scene tape|
|1 x Container of Clay||1 x Container of Sandy Soil|
|15 x Textured objects||4 x Lipstick|
|2 x 250 mL beaker||200 x Portion cups|
|10 x Mirrors||15 x Tweezers|
|1 x Funnel||4 x Petroleum jelly|
|1 x Container of Loam||200 x Wooden splints|
|3 x Shoe polish sponges||3 x Scrub brushes|
|10 x Measuring tapes||3 x Paint brushes|
|1 x Metal tongs||10 x Feathers|
|20 x Dropper bottles||2 x Dusting powders|
|75 x Coins||1 x Package of index cards|
|1 x Membership card||3 x Votive candles|
|1 x Small sand sample||1 x Hand lotion|
|1 x Container of Plaster of Paris|