Cookie Jar Mystery: A Study in Forensic Science Classroom Kit - Grades 4-5
Number of Students: 30
- Number of Lessons: 12
- Additional Resources: Sample Lesson Plan PDF, Tools for Teaching
Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? In this exciting and interactive class, your students will solve the mystery of who broke Mrs. Randall’s favorite cookie jar and ate her homemade cookies through 12 dynamic lessons.
A crime has occurred in Mrs. Randall’s classroom! Her favorite cookie jar was broken and some of her homemade cookies were eaten. While breaking a cookie jar and snitching a few cookies are hardly serious crimes, they are nevertheless crimes that can be solved using a forensic science approach.
Mrs. Randall turns this misfortune into opportunity and calls in a “Chief Crime Scene Investigator” (your teacher) to lead her “forensics team” (your students) in how to use the tools of forensic science in analyzing clues left at the crime scene. Each student member of this investigative team is tasked with solving the mystery through scientific observation, sample examination, analysis, lab work, testing, interviews, and field work.
How it Works
Together, your students will utilize forensic science techniques to analyze clues left at the crime scene to catch the culprit – learning how to match hair samples, examine trace evidence, and test blood samples. Set features ink strips, chromatography paper, fingerprint cards, and more to serve as clues in the ongoing investigation. There are four suspects, and it is up to your team to determine who is guilty through scientific observation, sample examination, analysis, lab work, and more.
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 Cookie Jar 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 Cookie Jar Mystery is comprised of 12 lessons, designed each to take approximately 1-hour, for a class of 30 students. Your class size and ability level will determine the ultimate pace for the materials.
Lesson 1: Heads Up-Observation Skills
You can't believe your eyes or can you? Budding CSI investigators love to explore the challenge of visual memory and eyewitness testimony in this activity of "Did You See That?"
Lesson 2: Think Ink-Ink Chromatography
The telltale composition of ink can help CSIs identify the perpetrator when students make their own ink chromatographs. Easy-to-follow instructions lead the way in your classroom's forensics laboratory.
Lesson 3: The White Stuff-White Substance and Toxicology
Take a powder, please! Students get a closer look at the differences in white substances (Of course they're all non-toxic!) and at the world of poison science in this riveting research.
Lesson 4: Pull Some Strings-Fiber Analysis
Can scientific analysis of fibers help identify our thief? Students use pocket hand lenses to get up close and personal with fiber analysis, and learn to distinguish between class evidence and direct (conclusive) evidence.
Lesson 5: Hair We Go-Hair Sample
Who knew hair could be so complex? In this activity, can our junior gumshoes match a hair sample to the correct suspect? This absorbing inquiry will have students scratching their heads (and plucking their own hair!) as they delve deeper into the Cookie Jar Mystery.
Lesson 6: Follow the Grain-Pollen Analysis
Achoo! Pollen as evidence? Learners explore another form of trace evidence that often tells where something happened. Students do the legwork in the field as they practice with this essential tool.
Lesson 7: Make an Impression-Bite Marks
Surprisingly simple materials provide all you need for another great lesson in comparing and contrasting for students to "sink their teeth into."
Lesson 8: Bloody Brilliant-Blood Types
Of course, it's not real blood - but we do provide blood evidence substitute that encourages learners to handle evidence just like genuine CSI laboratory technicians. This lesson in blood typing provides a great jump start for future scientists, geneticists and crime scene detectives.
Lesson 9: One of a Kind-Fingerprint Evidence
Oh, the things we leave behind! Everything you always wanted to know about whorls and ridges, fingerprinting technique and more with authentic Ten Cards for each student to make a record of his/her prints.
Lesson 10: Crack the Code-DNA
Learning to unravel the mystery of our genetic code is revealed in this straightforward explanation and lesson helps learners narrow the field of suspects.
Lesson 11: Let's Talk-Questioning Our Suspects
A lie detector isn't the only way of getting at the truth! In this lesson, our junior CSI detectives learn the meaning of the "norm" and how knowing the norm helps sort truth tellers from liars. Students also return to the "scene of the crime" for another look.
Lesson 12: Who Dunnit?-Examining & Analyzing All the Evidence
Means, motive and opportunity all come together in this culminating activity that encourages students to put all of the puzzle pieces together and finally solve the Cookie Jar Mystery!
The Classroom version of the Cookie Jar Mystery contains an Instructor Guide, digital access to Teachers Resources with all student handouts, and the essential supplies necessary 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 digital Teacher Resources for the Cookie Jar 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 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: simulated blood serum, hair, fiber, and pollen samples, chromatography paper, suspect pens, tweezers, and hand lenses!
The Cookie Jar Mystery Classroom Kit Includes:
|1 x Instructor’s Guide
|1 x Access to Teachers Resources
|1 x Simulated blood and anti-sera
|3 x Suspect pens (set of 4)
|10 x Blood Typing Guides
|60 x Disposable gloves
|1 x White powder samples (set of 5)
|1 x Liter Water Bottles
|100 x Chromatography paper
|15 x Hand lenses
|1 x Iodine
|1 x Plastic Dropper
|15 x Tweezers
|32 x Ink strips
|20 x Dropper bottles and lids
|32 x Ink towelettes
|16 x 250 mL Beakers
|1 x Black fiber samples (set of 5)
|100 x Wooden splints
|1 x box of toothpicks
|1 x Pollen samples (set of 5)
|1 x Hair samples (set of 5)
|50 x Portion cups
|16 x Plastic spoons
|1 x Box of paper clips
|100 x Plastic Straws
|50 x Blood exam trays