expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Monday, October 17, 2016

Practicing Inferring through Crime Scene Investigation

This past Friday, my team decided to create a crime scene to help our students master the skill of making inferences! We were inspired by many others who have used crime scene investigation to help set the stage to engage for different skills.

The Set Up!

First, we had to think of the crime that was committed. We are a 1:1 district with iPads, so why not get our iPads stolen! Oh no!

Some other ideas that we came up with were someone stole:
  • The candy
  • Student Bucks
  • Tiger Stars (our PBIS reward tickets)
  • Books
Next, we had to think of who committed the crime. We decided to have our principal be the culprit and to have her steal 2 iPads from each of our classrooms. Because she was in such a rush and she didn't want anyone to see her, she left something in each of our rooms. These became our evidence. 

The items we had her leave were:
  1. Coffee cup (adults drink coffee)
  2. Tiger Star Award (PBIS reward tickets) that was intended for a former student who is now in 5th grade.
  3. Administrator Magazine
  4. Book that said "Happy Birthday" (Our principal gives each student a book on their birthday - how great is that?!)
Crime scene in my classroom

After that, we had to come up with her motive - why would she take our iPads? We had her get a handwritten note from her granddaughter asking her if she could bring home some extra iPads for the weekend so she could play on them. We planted this note on top of the "stolen" iPads in her office. 
Our principal caught in the act of "stealing our iPads"!

Finally, we videotaped her actually committing the crime so the students could see all of the clues that they had figured out come to life! We then put up some caution tape over our doors and over the actual "crime scene" to gain the student's excitement!

Clue/Evidence tents to place by the clues and a crime scene sign to make sure your students
don't touch the crime scene!

So a quick recap for if you want to create an activity like this in your classroom! 

  1. Come up with a crime.
  2. Decide on the person who will commit the crime.
  3. Figure out the clues they will leave that will lead your students to make inferences about who it was.
  4. Figure out the culprit's motive
  5. Set up the clues,  caution tape, crime scene sign morning message about a crime to make the crime seem real!
  6. Videotape (If you want) the crime being committed

How the Lesson Went!

I will admit, when the students came in the morning, it was a little crazy! The excitement was noticeable and the anticipation was definitely rising! We had our regular morning meeting and then our activity for the day was to make inferences about the clue in our room.

We used our inferring steps - Clue + Background Knowledge = Inference - to make inferences about the coffee cup. Some of the inferences they came up with were:

  • Coffee Cup + Miss Hausman drinks coffee every morning = Miss Hausman stole the iPads! (My OWN students blamed me throughout the whole activity haha!)
  • Coffee Cup + Janitors drink coffee and they are the last ones in the building = The Janitors stole the iPads
  • Coffee Cup + Adults drink coffee = Any adult could have stolen them!
  • Coffee Cup + our principal drinks coffee = our principal stole the iPads
Handout to help students track their clues and inferences and an end of the lesson
quick write activity!

We then took our clue and inferences we made about it to a meeting with our whole grade level (3 multiage classrooms of third and fourth graders). We each shared our inferences about our clues. Some examples were:

  • Tiger Star to 5th grader + that 5th grader's teacher = the 5th grade teacher stole the iPads
  • Administrator Magazine + Our principal is an administrator (we looked up the word) = Our Principal stole the iPads
  • Birthday Book + Principal gives birthday books = Our principal did it!
Anchor Charts used to write out clues, background knowledge and the inferences
we made!

It took us awhile to narrow it down to our principal - it was down to Miss Hausman (me) and our principal. We finally decided we thought it was our principal. But, before accusing her we had to be CERTAIN! So, we all marched down to her office to find our last piece of evidence. Three of our "lead detectives" (students who showed great leadership throughout the activity) got to go into her office with me to continue our investigation.

After they found a few things like: another coffee cup and more Tiger Star awards, they found the iPads under the note from her granddaughter. They were SO proud to have found the iPads and to have figured out the mystery! 

The motive for our principal to steal the iPads.

We went back to the classroom and the 3 detectives shared their experience from the principal's office. Then, my teammate announced that she had just finished talking with the custodian who sent us the videos from the security cameras. So we watched the crime unfold on video.

I was SO impressed with our students and how well they made inferences using BOTH clues and background knowledge to make their inference and how well they did connecting their inferences together. This will definitely be an activity that will get repeated year after year!

You can find the Crime Scene Inferring Investigation with:  Anchor Charts, Clue Tents, Crime Scene sign, Activity sheet and Wrap Up Quick Write sheet in the product in my TPT store here! Hopefully it can help you set up your own activity! :)

Checkout Miss 5th's Instagram page and TPT store for more crime scene investigation activities and Teaching and So Fourth's Instagram page to see how she transformed her classroom!

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as my class did! :)